The Orioles pounded the ball all over their new yard last night, but the unsung hero of their 12-4 victory never picked up a bat.
Alan Mills put a hold on the Detroit Tigers' offense in his first appearance with the team, and his teammates on offense picked up the beat to catapult him to victory.
"I really wasn't nervous," said the newest Oriole. "Basically, I was trying to keep the score the way it was [4-0 Tigers in the third]. To tell the truth, I don't really think I pitched that well.
"You can't go in there and give them walks [three]."
But the Detroit attack came to a screeching halt when Mills entered. The Tigers didn't manage a hit off him in 3 1/3 innings and struck out four times.
Mills was recalled Saturday when Mark Williamson went on the disabled list with an inflamed elbow. He was with the Orioles until the day before the regular season, when he was optioned to the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings.
"There's a pecking order here, but maybe something will open up for him, you never know," Orioles manager Johnny Oates said. "He's a very important part of our club."
Mills, 25, was acquired from the New York Yankees on Feb. 29 in a trade for two minor-leaguers. He pitched well in spring training (1-0, 3.52 ERA) and impressed management with his sinker-slider combination.
The numbers in his portfolio (278 walks in 476 2/3 innings) suggest a control problem, but Oates said, "He hasn't shown that to us here.
"For now, he'll be a long man. When we're in trouble early, he'll be in there. That's very important to any ballclub. Just ask some of the older guys about Sammy Stewart."
Mills had pitched three times in Rochester when the call came to return.
"I was at a hockey game when I heard about it," he said. "It was my first one and they had no way of getting in touch with me at home."
He said he was happy about the outcome but "could do without the walks. It's always good to pitch in a ballpark when the fans come out like this."
Todd Frohwirth came on to complete the gnashing of the Tigers' attack. He allowed one hit as the bullpen rescued Ben McDonald with 6 2/3 scoreless innings.
"We just couldn't get anything going," Tigers catcher Mickey Tettleton said. "Mills came in and did a good job, and Frohwirth gave them three solid innings."
You didn't have to hit to be an Orioles hero in this one.