BALTIMORE - Pitching for the first time in the big leagues since last October, Chris Tillman began his long-awaited appearance by throwing seven straight pitches outside the strike zone.
Once he finally found his groove, the Orioles right-hander powered through the Chicago White Sox lineup over five innings in a 4-0 victory Sunday that provided Baltimore with a three-game sweep.
Sidelined since March with right shoulder bursitis, Tillman came off the disabled list to join an unstable rotation in need of another arm. After walking the first two batters and working out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, Tillman bounced back nicely in his first appearance since the 2016 AL wild-card game.
“It was a real testament to his pitchability,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said, “searching for something he could survive with early where he could get in step a little bit.”
Tillman (1-0) gave up three singles, walked three and struck out four. He was lifted after throwing 93 pitches, but not before proving he’s still got the stuff that enabled him to go 16-6 last season.
Especially after that wild start.
“I feel like all those first seven pitches were the same mistakes,” Tillman said. “It’s kind of an easy adjustment because I wasn’t all over the place. I was making the same mistake over and over.”
It’s a start, one he hopes to build upon.
“Every start the rest of the way is going to be a hurdle,” he said.
Alec Asher followed Tillman, and Brad Brach got two outs for his seventh save.
Trey Mancini had three hits and drove in a run for the Orioles, who took an early 4-0 lead against Jose Quintana (2-5) and coasted to their fourth straight victory.
Baltimore finished its first three-game home sweep of the White Sox in 18 years and improved to 20-10 for the first time since 2005.
“They were able to put some runs on the board,” White Sox manager Rick Renteria said. “They were able to minimize things on the opposite side with pitching.”
Quintana allowed four runs and nine hits in five innings. He issued two walks, two singles and two runs in the first inning, then gave up two runs and four hits in the second.
The lefty was 2-0 with an 0.64 ERA in his previous two starts, both against Kansas City.
“I tried to get quick outs to stay in the game a little longer,” Quintana said. “It was a tough day for me.”
Yolmer Sanchez had three hits for the White Sox, who were swept for the first time this season. Renteria was thrown from the game in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes with umpire Paul Emmel.
“He ejected me. That’s all I can say,” Renteria said.
Chris Davis hit a sacrifice fly and Mancini added a run-scoring single in the first.
Manny Machado and Adam Jones hit opposite-field, bloop RBI singles in the second to complete the scoring.
THIS AND THAT
Mancini has eight hits in his last 12 at-bats. … Chicago went 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position in the first inning and 0 for 7 in the game. … It was Renteria’s first ejection with the White Sox and seventh as a big league manager.
White Sox SS Tim Anderson was given the day off. “Someone close to him passed. I’m giving him time to deal with it,” Renteria said.
HELLO, OLD FRIEND
The Orioles will be see former catcher Matt Wieters during a home-and-home interleague series against Washington that begins Monday. Wieters played eight seasons in Baltimore before signing as a free agent with the Nationals.
“Matt gave a lot of things to us and we gave a lot of things to Matt,” Showalter said.
White Sox: RHP Zach Putnam (right elbow inflammation) is “getting better in the whole rehab process,” Renteria said. Putnam has been on the DL since April 23.
Orioles: C Fernando Pena left in the eighth inning with a thumb injury. … 2B Jonathan Schoop sat out a second straight game with a bruised hand after being hit by a pitch Friday night. “I’m hoping he’s back (Monday) but he’s still got some soreness there,” Showalter said.
White Sox: After taking Monday off, Chicago opens a three-game series against the visiting Minnesota Twins. The teams have thus far split six games.
Orioles: RHP Kevin Gausman starts Monday night at Camden Yards against the first-place Nationals. The series shifts to Washington on Wednesday.