(Chris Tillman is congratulated by Orioles pitching coach Rick Adair — who held the same job with Seattle under Don Wakamatsu — after his strong outing Monday. Photo by McClatchy Newspapers).
I don’t know what the statute of limitations is regarding lamentations of the Erik Bedard trade, but it’s a hard topic to avoid when Chris Tillman does what Chris Tillman does to the Mariners. Again. He is now 3-0 with a 0.83 ERA in three starts against them.
For an added bonus, one of the key hits against them was by Mark Reynolds, who was acquired by the Orioles in a trade with Arizona for — wait for it — Kam Mickolio, one of the pitchers acquired by the Orioles from Seattle in the Bedard trade. Adam Jones, who regularly haunts them, “only” had a double tonight, but didn’t score.
Reynolds had three hits, but Jason Vargas was still kicking himself over the RBI double Reynolds delivered in the second. The Orioles scored all their runs in that inning, capped by a two-run, two-out homer by Nick Markakis.
When it was noted to Vargas it came down to one bad inning, he replied, “Yeah, kind of one pitch. That pitch to Reynolds I left over the plate allowed them to extend the inning. Markakis hit a curveball I kind of hung over the plate a little bit, but that all could have been avoided if I executed to Reynolds.”
It’s a credit to Vargas he hung in there and wound up pitching a complete game (albeit an eight-inning complete game).
“It says a great deal about him and how far he’s come,” manager Eric Wedge said. “He had earned the right to be out there, I wanted him to be out there. I trust him. And he makes pitches and keeps the game right where it is. He gave us every chance to win the ballgame, and I wanted to give him every chance to win the ballgame.”
Wedge went out after J.J. Hardy’s one-out double in the eighth, but left in Vargas, who got Jones and Matt Wieters to end the threat.
“I think that’s the first time he’s come out there and not taken me out,” Vargas said. “To leave me out there, especially when we’re down, and they have a chance to go ahead even more, the trust he has in me to finish that inning off – I mean, it’s huge.”
Wedge wasn’t happy that Munenori Kawasaki was thrown out at second after his RBI single in the eighth. It put the brakes on a promising inning.
“He has to stay at first on that one. That one hurt us. Great job on the base hit, but as soon as he sees that throw low on line like that, he has to put on the breaks and stay at first base.”
Kawasaki acknowledged his mistake.
“All I had in mind was to drive the ball to center field and get the runner in,” he said through interpreter Antony Suzuki. “But then it was a bad judgment around first base in trying to get to second. I regret that because that’s where you want to gain that momentum and I wasn’t able to get that so that was unfortunate.
“I thought I would be safe at second. That was my first thought.”
Finally, some good stuff from Mike Carp on his adventures this week. He arrived at the ballpark at about 5:15, having flown in from California. Remember, he flew out after Saturday’s game in New York to be with his girlfriend in Long Beach, Calif., after she gave birth to their daughter, which they named Calais.
“We were hoping she’d hold out for Anaheim or some stretch when I was on the West Coast,” Carp said Monday after the game, the first chance we had to talk to him. “But she wanted to come and there was no stopping her. I got in about 10 o’clock (Saturday night) and there was no greater feeling in the world. There she was. She’s mine.”
His girlfriend went into the hospital in the wee hours of Saturday morning. The baby was delivered a few minutes before the Mariners began their afternoon game with the Yankees at Yankee Stadium – a 1-0 victory in which Carp drove in the only run to make a winner of Felix Hernandez.
“It was a good day,” he said. “Definitely a memorable one I’ll never forget. I found out right before we took the field.”
Carp hustled out of the ballpark after the game and caught a cab to the airport for a 6 p.m. flight. He got in about 9:30 that night and stayed with the baby until Monday morning, when he caught a flight to Baltimore. Without taking batting practice, Carp was in the lineup at first base, getting the Mariners’ first hit in the fifth inning.
“She was good last night,” he said. “I got about four hours of sleep and a couple hours on the plane today. It was enough. I rolled in about 5:15 or 5:20, ate some pregame and strapped it on, let’s go. That’s two straight show ‘n go’s for me.
“It’s baseball. It’s part of what we do It’s not like I’ve never done in that in Triple-A. I just treated it like one of those Colorado Springs days where you get in, go right into BP and it’s game time.”
Fortuitously, Carp won’t have to wait long to see his daughter, who was six pounds, six ounces, and 18 ¾ inches long. The team heads home after Wednesday’s game to Anaheim for a weekend series with the Angels.
“Yeah, I’m excited,” he said. “It was tough to leave this morning. I didn’t want to let her go, especially when I was talking to her and she was trying to open her eyes. I was telling her goodbye and I’ll see you in a couple days. We’ll get in Thursday morning and I’ll have that whole day off and then the whole weekend just to hang out. It’ll be awesome. This is going to be an exciting two months to finish off the season for me.”
“She’s a sweetheart already. She’s precious. There’s no greater feeling. It’s something I wasn’t expecting, but now I’d never want to take it back.”