The O's righty continued his dominant second-half Wednesday night as Tillman, looking every bit like the top-of-the-rotation, Opening Day arm he was projected to be for Baltimore this spring. Tillman blanked the Braves over 8 2/3 innings in his latest effort, and exited the O's series-sweeping, 2-0 win to a rousing ovation.
"I think everybody knew at the beginning of the year this wasn't quite what we were used to seeing," Orioles catcher Matt Wieters said of Tillman, whose ERA hit 6.22 following a rough start on June 21. "We knew he would get back to it. With his work ethic and his mentality, we knew he would get back there. Tonight, he had all four of his pitches working and when you have all four on, it's going to be a good night."
At just 90 pitches through eight innings in the contest delayed at the start by rain, Tillman took the mound for the ninth and recorded two quick outs. But a double by Cameron Maybin ended his compete-game bid, with manager Buck Showalter calling on closer Zach Britton.
"It was tough. Yes, it was," Showalter said of taking out Tillman, who is 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in his last six games.. "We caught like four or five line drives. ... So we were fortunate with a couple of them, but he was great. And that's obvious, but we also have a pretty good option there with Zach Britton."
Britton retired Freddie Freeman to give Tillman his eighth win of the season and ensure his fourth consecutive quality start wouldn't go to waste.
"I don't think confidence was ever an issue," Tillman said of his turnaround. "Early in the season it wasn't going well, but I felt like it was close. I felt like I was one pitch away at all times, my misses were close. I just missed too much and had to fight back into count."
By contrast, the righty cruised through most of Wednesday night, with Maybin's double the Braves only extra-base hit. Tillman gave up four hits total and didn't issue a walk in the 95-pitch outing.
"I felt my command was good from the get-go," said Tillman, who has allowed just one run over 23 2/3 second-half innings. "Better arm side than glove side. My changeup is what got me through that start. I made some good pitches early and late, when need be."