Tillman Brings It All Together In No-Hitter
BALTIMORE—Chris Tillman was devastated when the Orioles optioned him to Triple-A Norfolk on the last day of spring training. His voice cracked while talking to reporters at his locker. He tried to put on a brave front, but he clearly was hurt by the decision.
Apparently, Tillman no longer has time for the pain.
Tillman, 22, threw a no-hitter against Gwinnett in late April, getting three ground balls in the ninth inning and setting off a wild celebration. He walked one batter, and another reached on first baseman Michael Aubrey's error. The young righthander struck out six and threw 63 of 105 pitches for strikes.
"I didn't realize what was going on until about the fifth or sixth inning," he said. "Once I realized what was happening, I started noticing everyone scooting down on the bench and no one would sit next to me."
It was the first nine-inning no-hitter for Norfolk since Dave Telgheder accomplished the feat in 1992. It also was the first career complete game for Tillman, who was obtained from the Mariners in the Erik Bedard trade in 2008.
Asked where the accomplishment ranked among his career highlights, Tillman replied, "It's high up there. I think this may be No. 1. I had one other game where I came pretty close, but nothing to this extent.
"I think getting called up to the big leagues was definitely a huge thing last year and that probably sticks out more to me as that has been my goal my whole life. This is what I'm here for, just trying to get back there."
Tillman was the favorite to break camp as the fifth starter after going 2-5, 5.40 in 65 innings with the Orioles last season, but David Hernandez beat him out. Tillman allowed eight runs and 14 hits, and walked nine, in 16 innings in spring training, and the Orioles figured he would benefit from a little more time in the minors.
"I was just working on things here," he said. "I was working on my fastball command, on that cutter, on throwing that curveball for strikes. I think it all fell together tonight."
• High Class A Frederick catcher Wally Crancer voluntarily retired. Crancer, a 12th-round pick in the 2007 draft out of Georgia Tech, was hitting .225/.311/.300 in 40 at-bats.
• Lefthander Zach Britton, one of the top pitching prospects in the organization, left an early May start for Double-A Bowie after being hit on the left shoulder during the fifth inning. Britton, who completed the inning, complained of some stiffness and soreness afterward, but nothing more serious.