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Chris Tillman shuts down White Sox in season debut

The Baltimore Orioles haven’t needed Chris Tillman.

With their ace on the disabled list because of a shoulder issue, the Orioles have jumped out to a 20-10 record and sit atop the American League East alongside the New York Yankees.

That doesn’t mean Baltimore didn’t want Tillman.

On Sunday he made his first start of the year, a 4-0 win for the Orioles, and proved that he’s ready to help them contend.

Chris Tillman put away the White Sox easily, he couldn’t say the same for Chicago’s Triple-A team. (AP Photo/Gail Burton)

In five innings, Tillman handled the Sox rather easily, striking out four, walking three and giving up just three hits as Baltimore handed Chicago its first sweep of the season.

Tillman exited after 93 pitches and proved he was able to get out of trouble when needed, though most of that trouble came in the first inning.

Tillman walked the first two batters he faced on just nine pitches. After getting Jose Abreu to pop out, Avisail Garcia reach on a fielders choice to load the bases. Tillman then used three pitches to get Todd Fraiser to line out and Cody Asche to ground as he escaped the inning.

The most entertaining part in all of this?

Tillman got rocked in his last rehab start with the Norfolk Tides against the Charlotte Knights.

That’s right. The Orioles’ ace dominated the Chicago White Sox, but couldn’t seem to get past their Triple-A team.

Here’s how bad that rehab start was: Tillman gave up three home runs in second inning, then gave up another in the third inning. His final line read like something out of a prospect’s horror story, five IP, five H, five ER, six SO and two walks.

The good news here is that Tillman shouldn’t be heading back to Norfolk anytime soon. The bad news is that those Charlotte hitters will be joining the White Sox sooner rather than later.

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Blake Schuster is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at blakeschuster@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!