ARLINGTON, Tex. — The Orioles ended their three-city, 10-game road trip with one of their most bizarre games of the season on Thursday night.
Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman was unable to retire a batter in the second inning for the second time in four starts. Gold Glove shortstop J.J. Hardy committed a career-high three errors, including two in the Rangers’ three-run seventh inning that broke open a tie game after the Orioles had rallied from an early five-run deficit.
The Orioles’ 8-6 loss to the Rangers in Thursday night’s series finale at Globe Life Park in Arlington — a defeat that snapped the Orioles’ four-game winning streak — was one they will want to quickly forget. And even though the Orioles (30-28) completed their road trip to Milwaukee, Houston and Texas with a respectable .500 mark (5-5), Thursday’s loss presented the Orioles with some problems too hard to ignore.
The most disturbing is the continuing struggles of Tillman, the team’s Opening Day starter. Nine of the 11 batters he faced on the night reached base as he was forced from the game with no outs and the Orioles trailing, 5-0, five batters into the second inning.
Tillman was charged with five runs and six hits in one-plus inning, walking three and striking out one.
It’s the second time in a four-start span that Tillman has been unable to retire a batter in the second inning. He recorded just three outs in a start in Pittsburgh on May 21, allowing eight runs, seven hits and three walks while striking out one in a 9-8 loss to the Pirates.
Tillman has a 10.50 ERA in the first two innings of starts this season, and he has a 2.49 ERA after that.