When Chris Tillman was demoted for the second time in his career on June 22, he had the feeling that he just didn’t belong with the ball club.

Whether his teammates felt the same way or not, Tillman’s numbers certainly showed that his thoughts weren’t unwarranted.

At 0-3 with a 8.40 ERA, Tillman seemed to be having trouble translating his success with AAA Norfolk to Baltimore and he was struggling to figure out exactly why the gap in performance existed.

However, Saturday’s start against the Texas Rangers was a sign that all of that might be a thing of the past.

Coming into Saturday evening, the attention could not have been focused less on Tillman. In fact, the giant last-minute crowd was focused on the pitcher of the opposing team-Cliff Lee, who was making his first start in a Texas Rangers uniform after being traded for the day before.

While Lee certainly didn’t deliver the stellar outing the fans were expecting, that didn’t mean that they didn’t get to see someone throw a gem.

Tillman used the evening to deliver the finest pitching performance of his young career.

7.1 innings, 2 hits, 1 walk, 0 runs and 3 strikeouts.

As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he actually took a no-hitter into the seventh where it was ended by a harmless grounder through a gap.

Not only did Tillman do more than enough to get his first win, but he provided that signature “I have arrived moment” that members of the organization have been waiting for.

Tillman has had a couple good starts in his time in the big leagues, but nothing that has indicated that he can dominate batters at the highest level.

This was that indication.

If you read my article on all of the Orioles young pitchers, you know that Tillman’s failures mystified most because of his domination in AAA.

Batters in AAA are obviously nowhere near the level of major league players, but when a pitcher discards them with ease like Tillman did, the struggles at the next level can usually be attributed to a lack of confidence.

When this situation occurs, all it takes is one solid performance to put the player in the zone.

This scenario could be exactly Tillman’s issue this season, especially since Tillman said he felt like he didn’t belong in the majors before last night’s start.

After out-dueling one of the best pitchers in baseball to beat a very good Texas team, don’t be surprised if Tillman’s confidence shoots sky high and he goes on a nice little run of quality starts.

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