BALTIMORE — Orioles manager Buck Showalter wanted to make sure that his unusual confrontation with Yankees counterpart Joe Girardi didn't overshadow Chris Tillman's gem.
Girardi didn't seem interested in shedding light on the first-inning fracas that had Showalter angry and emptied both dugouts.
Tillman took a three-hitter into the eighth inning and Baltimore beat New York 4-2 Monday night in the opener of a four-game series with ramifications in the AL wild-card race. The Orioles moved 11/2 behind the idle Rays for the second AL wild card.
"They are all big this time of year, and I take the approach every game I'm pitching," Tillman said. "You only get to go out there once every fifth day, so for me they are all big."
Tillman matched his career high with nine strikeouts. But his performance almost became an afterthought after the skirmish between Showalter and Girardi.
Showalter patiently answered inquiries about the clash before asking reporters to change their line of questioning.
"Guys, we had a great pitched game," he said. "I understand you've got to ask the questions and everything. I'd rather have the focus be on Chris Tillman, some of the things we did on the field."
Both dugouts emptied briefly after the first, when Showalter and Girardi exchanged words after the Yankees manager yelled at Baltimore third-base coach Bobby Dickerson, accusing him of stealing signs. Showalter had to be restrained by home plate umpire Ed Hickox.