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Five memorable moments for 2015 Orioles season

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Five memorable moments for 2015 Orioles season

The 2015 season wasn’t a good one for the Orioles. It wasn’t a bad one, either. It was memorable. Let’s look at five of the most positive memories of this year.

1) April 29—The fanless game

After Baltimore experienced unrest that caused fans to be temporarily locked in to one game and the postponement of two others, the Orioles played in front of the first officially empty house in major league history.

The Orioles 8-2 win was remarkable for what those of us there got to experience. First base coach Wayne Kirby, who has the loudest voice imaginable, exhorting base runners, White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu yelling “I got it, I got it” on a pop fly.

And, there were the players who tried to make light of a most difficult situation: Caleb Joseph pantomimed signing autographs, Chris Davis tossing balls into the empty stands.

There were three scouts allowed in, and they had a fine view of the game.

It was the fastest Orioles game of the season, two hours, three minutes.

2) June 16-Orioles hit a club record eight home runs

Manny Machado led off the game with a home run off Philadelphia’s Jerome Williams. The home runs kept coming.

Machado hit two, Chris Parmelee, who had been added to the roster before the game, had two. Jimmy Paredes, David Lough and Chris Davis each had one.

The Orioles led 17-3 after six innings.

Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg  used longtime major league outfielder Jeff Francoeur to pitch the seventh and eighth. Francoeur, who had pitched in the minors, threw 48 pitches including the Orioles club record eighth home run by Ryan Flaherty.

The Phillies’ bullpen phone was off the hook as Sandberg tried to remove Francoeur. Not until the Orioles bullpen yelled at them did Philadelphia realize something was amiss with their phone.

3) July 18-Tillman is nearly perfect

Chris Tillman allowed a leadoff double to Detroit’s Ian Kinsler in the first inning. Two batters later, he walked Victor Martinez.

Twenty-three batters later, Tillman left the game after eight innings. He didn’t allow another baserunner, and in a season of erratic starts, Tillman had a wonderful one.

He threw 106 pitches, and in the Orioles second game after four days off for the All-Star break, manager Buck Showalter decided that Zach Britton needed the work, and he finished up the masterpiece.

Eleven days later, Tillman came within an out of a complete game. He turned an ankle late in the game, causing him to miss time, and the Orioles went without a complete game in 2015 for the first time in team history.

4) August 19-Urrutia ends the show

For the third time in six games--the first time in club history--the Orioles ended a game with a home run.

On Aug. 14, Machado’s two-run home run in the 13th inning gave the Orioles an 8-6 win over the Oakland Athletics.

A night later, Chris Davis homered off Oakland’s switch-pitcher Pat Venditte in the ninth for a 4-3 win.

Four days later, Henry Urrutia’s home run off the New York Mets’ Carlos Torres was the difference in a 5-4 win.

It was Urrutia’s first home run in the major leagues, and by the end of the following week, he was back in Norfolk.

The Orioles were five games over .500 after Urrutia’s home run, and were in the midst of the playoff run.

A few weeks later, after the Orioles lost 15 of 18, they had another memorable home run night when they scored 10 runs in the eighth inning against the Kansas City Royals on Sept. 11.

Nolan Reimold and Steve Clevenger hit grand-slam homers in the inning. It was the first time in nine years a team had hit two in one inning, and the first time the Orioles did it since 1986. They’re the only team in major league history to twice hit two grand slams in an inning.

5) Oct. 4-Machado plays 162, Davis says goodbye

Manny Machado had knee surgeries in 2013 and 2014, and he was determined to play every game in 2015.

Machado became the only major leaguer to play in each of his team’s games, and he topped off a terrific year by playing in his 162nd game.

Chris Davis, who is likely to leave via free agency, hit two home runs, including one in his final at-bat.

Davis, who was named the Most Valuable Oriole, hit 47 home runs, the fourth most in team history.

Besides the 19 runs scored against Philadelphia, the Orioles scored 18 twice.

All that offense couldn’t propel the Orioles into the postseason.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at five forgettable moments from 2015.

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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USA Today Sports

Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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USA Today Sports Images

Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm