Orioles forced to go to the bullpen in the fifth inning of ALCS Game 1

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Chris Tillman’s night ended with a runner on third base with one out in the top of the fifth inning of ALCS Game 1 against the Royals. The Orioles had fallen behind when Tillman allowed four runs in the third inning. In the fifth, Tillman allowed a hit in the right-center field gap to Lorenzo Cain, who hustled for a double, narrowly beating center fielder Adam Jones’ throw in to second base. Cain moved to third base on an Eric Hosmer ground out to second base. Manager Buck Showalter decided that was the end of the line for Tillman after throwing 84 pitches to 22 batters.

Tommy Hunter, who had begun warming up when Tillman was struggling in the third, entered the game in relief. He allowed Cain, the inherited runner, to score on a Billy Butler sacrifice fly, stretching the Royals’ lead back to four runs at 5-1. Alex Gordon then ripped a line drive single to center field, but was promptly picked off of first base to end the fifth inning.

Tillman’s final line: 4 1/3 innings, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR. Definitely not the outing the Orioles were looking for to begin the ALCS.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.