Hill does it all to down Phillies
Starter pitches six-plus solid frames, plates go-ahead run
PHILADELPHIA -- Rich Hill tried something new in the first inning Friday, working a cut fastball into his arsenal.
It went awry right away, which let Hill junk it early and go back to the game plan -- and that was enough to beat the Phillies with 5 2/3 scoreless innings after a rocky first.
Hill allowed two runs in the first inning, but settled down and was near-dominant after that. Hill conceded five hits and four walks in his 6 2/3 innings, while striking out five, to win his third game of the season and beat the Phillies, 7-2. He also added an RBI single in the second -- his first base hit since 2007.
"I made a couple of stupid pitches in the first inning," Hill said. "I tried to put a cutter back into the repertoire, and those were the pitches that got hit. It's just not game ready yet.
"Sometimes out there, you tend to overthink things. You want to do more, and that becomes a problem. For me, I try to look at it as trying to get better. But staying with the game plan works."
Hill had been struggling with giving up the big inning -- he didn't survive the first inning June 7 against Oakland, and allowed four runs in the fourth frame and was removed against Atlanta in his last start on June 13. But Friday, he settled down in a time of trouble.
"When he gets in trouble, he tends to overthrow,'' Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "He doesn't stay with the game plan. But this time, he stayed on top, repeated his delivery and made big pitches."
Hill also helped himself at the plate, as his second-inning single gave the Orioles the lead for good.
"I take back everything I said about his ability to swing the bat," Trembley said.
"It's fun to get a hit; I love the National League style of play," said Hill, who had 114 at-bats with the Cubs in the NL and was a .120 hitter entering play Friday. "Everybody gets to play both sides of the game. It's fun to hit.
"It was an 0-2 pitch, and I choked up and widened my stride and shot the ball to left."
In fact, Hill got an additional at-bat in the seventh when Trembley opted to stay with him and keep the Phillies' lefty pinch-hitters on the bench. Hill responded by striking out Eric Bruntlett, meaning Hill batted in the top of the seventh with two out, and he attempted a bunt that had the manager -- jokingly -- questioning the strategy.
"I'd rather he just stood there," Trembley said, laughing.
It was Hill's first career win against the Phillies, and it came after a first inning that had all the makings of a long night. Hill gave up a two-out, two-run double to Jayson Werth to fall behind 2-0.
But the Orioles tied it when Matt Wieters drove in two runs with a double. Wieters has reached base safely in each of his past eight games, and he's batting .367 in that span. He was 4-for-28 (.143) in his first eight games, but he's taken off since a two-hit game against Seattle on June 9. He also caught a solid game, Hill said.
"Matt did a solid job behind the dish again," Hill said. "I can't say enough about him."
Wieters made a fine defensive play in the eighth, catching a foul popup by Pedro Feliz and nearly toppling into the dugout.
The Orioles added on in the sixth as Nick Markakis singled to lead off against Phillies rookie Antonio Bastardo. Aubrey Huff doubled him in to make it 4-2.
Hill and Jim Johnson held the Phillies in check until the ninth, and then the Orioles broke it open. Nolan Reimold led off the ninth with a homer, and Markakis doubled to score two more.
"The bullpen did a great job, and it's always nice to add on runs late like that," Reimold said.
"We're hot as a team right now," Markakis said.
The Orioles have scored 41 runs in winning five of their past six games. Baltimore improved to 7-3 in Interleague Play this year, and Friday's win broke a six-game road losing streak.
Kevin Roberts is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.