Chris Tillman struggles in his first start of 2013

Chris Tillman had a rocky outing Saturday night in his first start of the season, which came hours after he was activated from the 15-day disabled list. The right-hander lasted just 3 2/3 innings and allowed five earned runs.

Tillman, who was placed on the DL with a left abdominal strain on March 28, started strong in the first inning, needing just 13 pitches to retire the first three Minnesota Twins batters, including catcher Joe Mauer, in order.

But Tillman quickly lost his command in the top of the second inning. He allowed a single to Justin Morneau followed by a double to Ryan Doumit before walking Chris Parmalee to load the bases. Morneau scored on a Brian Dozier sacrifice fly. The 24-year-old walked another batter before escaping the inning with a 2-1 lead.

Things got worse in the third as he allowed four runs on three hits and a walk. After Parmelee hit a two-run homer to put the Twins up, 5-2, Rule 5 pick-up T.J. McFarland began warming up in the bullpen.

Tillman stayed on for the fourth inning, but when he walked Josh Willingham to put runners on first and second with two outs, he was yanked for McFarland, who made his first appearance with the Orioles.

In 3 2/3 innings, Tillman, whom manager Buck Showalter praised before the game, allowed five earned runs on seven hits. He walked four batters and struck out four. Just 55 of his 93 pitches were strikes.

His earned run average is currently 12.27.

The Orioles trail, 5-3, here in the fifth inning. We’ll see if they can stage another rally and get Tillman off the hook.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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