Orioles' Tillman sharp in victory over Rays

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 28, 2014 at 4:36 pm •  Published: February 28, 2014
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PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. (AP) — Chris Tillman pitched two scoreless inning in an impressive spring training debut, helping the Baltimore Orioles open their exhibition schedule with a 4-2 victory over Erik Bedard and the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday.

Bedard spent the first five years of his career with the Orioles and is competing to win the fifth starter's spot in his first season with the Rays. He yielded a three first-inning runs, although that doesn't necessarily mean he took a step back in his bid to rebound from a pair of disappointing seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Houston Astros.

The left-hander, who turns 35 on Wednesday, was 11-26 with a 4.76 ERA over the last two seasons, including 4-12 with a 4.59 ERA in 26 starts and six relief appearances for the Astros last year.

As a veteran of 10 seasons, Bedard understands spring training numbers don't always reflect how a pitcher is performing. He understands the competition for the job.

"It puts a little more pressure," Bedard said. "In the past I've had very bad springs, and I've have decent ones. You just go out there and throw strikes and do the best you can. Sometimes the results in spring don't mean you're not doing good."

Tillman, a first-time All-Star a year ago, allowed one hit, walked none and struck out three. Steve Clevenger had a RBI single and Alex Gonzalez finished Baltimore's big inning against Bedard with a two-run single.

"Tilly was sharp. Sometimes last year he was kind of searching for arm strength early, even in the season, but he was pretty sharp today," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He has a different presence about him. He's not that much more heavier, but you see some definition, the way he carries himself and everything."

Jerry Sands and Justin Christian drove in runs for the Rays.

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