MILWAUKEE -- For most of Monday at Miller Park, the focus was on Baltimore Orioles starter Chris Tillman turning in the worst two-game stretch of his career.
But the Orioles clawed their way back from the hole dug by Tillman--thanks in part to rookie Jonathan Schoop's first multihomer game--and catcher Nick Hundley, in his first game with the club, quickly went from goat to hero in a 7-6 victory in 10 innings.
With J.J. Hardy on second base and two outs in the top of the 10th, Hundley laced a single to left field against Rob Wooten (1-2) to score Hardy with the tiebreaker. It was Hundley's first Orioles hit, first Orioles RBI, and first Orioles game-winner.
And it came a few minutes after Hundley's debut nearly ended in baseball disaster.
With one out and a runner on first in the bottom of the ninth, Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez dropped a bunt in front of home plate. Hundley grabbed it and threw into right field, allowing the runners to get to second and third.
Former Orioles first baseman Mark Reynolds needed a sacrifice fly to win the game, but he hit a liner at Hardy. Pinch-runner Elian Herrera was nearly halfway down the third base line and was easily doubled up to end the inning.
It saved Hundley from the nightmare of making a crucial mistake in his first game since being traded to the Orioles from the San Diego Padres on Saturday.
Left-hander Zach Britton allowed a single and a walk, but threw a perfect bottom of the 10th to pick up his third save in as many tries. Darren O'Day (2-0) earned the win with one scoreless inning.
The Orioles (26-23) are now 5-1 in extra innings and 11-6 in one-run games this year.
The Orioles trailed, 6-3, in the seventh when Schoop hit his fourth homer of the season, a solo shot against Milwaukee starter Kyle Lohse.
Down by two in the ninth, the Brewers handed the ball to closer Francisco Rodriguez, the former Orioles right-hander whom the club didn't pursue heavily in the offseason.
Rodriguez had converted 17 of 18 chances before Monday.
And he was one out from his major league-leading 18th save when Schoop homered again to left field. Pinch-hitter Delmon Young singled and Nick Markakis followed with an RBI double to tie the game at 6.
Rodriguez got out of a bases loaded jam when Adam Jones hit a deep flyout to center field.
The Orioles' comeback salvaged a second straight rough game by Tillman.
Following his complete-game gem in Kansas City on May 16, Tillman was tagged for eight runs (six earned) in one-plus inning Wednesday in Pittsburgh. He followed up that disaster with Monday's struggle before an announced Memorial Day sellout of 42,889.
Tillman allowed six runs in 5 2/3 innings, leaving the game shortly after serving up consecutive solo home runs to Milwaukee's Khris Davis and Lyle Overbay, the second time the Brewers had hit back-to-back homers this season.
It's the first time in his career that Tillman has allowed six runs or more in consecutive starts. And the 12 earned runs in two games surpass his previous high in consecutive games; he gave up 11 total on July 19 and Sept. 5, 2010. That was back when he was trying to find his way as a major leaguer and was shuttling back and forth to the minor leagues.
Tillman, who was 16-7 and had a 3.71 ERA as an American League All-Star last year, was emerging as the club's ace. Now he qualifies as a concern.
Tillman had dealt with groin soreness earlier this month, but he says he is fine. His velocity is down a little bit--his average four-seam fastball is 90.4 mph this season, compared to 91.6 last year and 92.2 in 2012, according to FanGraphs.com.
But it is his command and the way he has been starting games that are most concerning. He walked four Monday, and has now walked 13 in his past 20 2/3 innings (and 12 in 11 2/3 innings not counting the shutout against the Royals).
He also gave up an immediate run in the first, permitting a leadoff triple by Jean Segura and an RBI double by Ryan Braun, the 12th first-inning run he has surrendered this season.
Reynolds had a sacrifice fly in the third, Segura added a two-run double in the fourth and then Tillman gave up the homers in the sixth. He had just one perfect inning and failed to pitch through the sixth--the sixth time in eight starts he hasn't done that.
The Orioles scored four runs against Lohse, the most the veteran right-hander has given up in one game this season. They scored three runs in the third inning on a two-run triple by Jones and an RBI single from Nelson Cruz, who leads the AL with 45 RBIs.
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