SEATTLE -- Chris Tillman had been almost perfect in his career against the Seattle Mariners -- his original organization -- until Robinson Cano's line drive off his arm in the first inning that led to his early exit on Tuesday night.
Cano drilled a liner off his right triceps, caroming so hard that it carried into shallow center field for a single. Trainer Brian Ebel rushed out to check on the right-hander, as did manager Buck Showalter. Tillman threw a couple pitches and said he felt fine.
"After that, I knew at some point if he could go the first five innings, it would stiffen up on him at little bit," Showalter said.
Tillman never got out of the third. He gave up six hits to the next 10 batters, including a three-run home run to Mark Trumbo, in the Orioles' 6-5 loss in 10 innings.
This was a Seattle team Tillman was 6-0 against with a 2.09 ERA, holding the Mariners to a career .172 average. In two starts at Safeco Field, he was 2-0 with a 0.63 ERA. He had given up one run in 14 1/3 innings previously, then gave up five in 2 1/3 innings Tuesday.
"It might have a little affect, but not big affect on the quality of pitches," Tillman said of getting hit by Cano's shot. "Physically, I felt good. I just was not making good pitches."
Once Tillman was removed, the concern shifted to whether he would miss any time. At this stage of the season, with the Orioles chasing both the Yankees and the Blue Jays in the American League East, his presence on the mound is required.
Tillman had been 6-0 over his previous 10 starts, while holding opponents to a .224 batting average and just three home runs.
"I'll be surprised if it gets in the way of his next start," Showalter said.
But Tillman twisted his ankle on July 29 and that pushed back this start and extra eigtht days. He said he was not bothered by the layoff.
"It's frustrating, because I felt I was make make some progress, making some headway, and ankle popped up and now this," he said.
Tillman said he expects the triceps to feel sore Wednesday and perhaps for a couple of days. The Orioles have some rotation flexibility because of Thursday's off-day.
Bob Sherwin is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.