March 8, 2012; Sarasota, FL, USA; Atlanta Braves center fielder Luis Durango (30) is caught stealing in the first inning as Baltimore Orioles second baseman Robert Andino (11) is able to apply the tag at Ed Smith Stadium. The Orioles defeated the Braves 2 - 1. Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-US PRESSWIRE
Jason Hammel made his first start as an Oriole today and had a successful two-inning stint thanks to a little help from his catcher and then his best friend (that would be, of course, the double play). Hammel walked the first batter he faced (maybe he was feeling nervous), but then the runner took his gift from Hammel and threw it in the garbage by trying to steal second. Even in Spring Training you shouldn't run on Matt Wieters. Hammel retired the next two batters on a strike out and a pop up to shortstop.
Hammel was followed by Kevin Gregg, Darren O'Day, and Pedro Strop, each of whom pitched one hitless inning (although Gregg and Strop walked one batter each). The O's pitching was getting the job done, but unfortunately the hitters weren't having much succes against Braves starter Mike Minor or his replacement, Yohan Flande. The teams went into the seventh inning tied at zero and Zach Phillips, who pitched a fast 1-2-3 inning (three groundouts) in the sixth came back out to pitch a second inning.
The first batter Phillips faced was Eric Hinske, who has had a thoroughly average major-league career. He really likes to hit home runs against the Orioles though, and it seems that Spring Training is no exception. His homer gave the Braves a 1-0 lead. Tough luck for Phillips, who otherwise pitched two good innings.
The Braves didn't hold the lead for long, though. Mark Reynolds walked to start the bottom of the seventh, and his pinch runner, Joe Mahoney, stole second base and scored on a single by Jai Miller. Pitcher Miguel Socolovich tried to give away the lead in the top of the 8th. Three straight singles loaded the bases, but Socolovich (that name is not easy to type) came back with a strike out and a double play ball.
The Orioles took the lead in the eighth on three consecutive hits by Caleb Joseph, Manny Machado, and Xavier Avery. Hey, look at the kids getting it done! Ignore the fact they were getting it done against someone who I've never heard of who wears #66. At least it wasn't #90!
With a one-run lead, Buck turned to Troy Patton to close out the game. Patton didn't let him down with a 1-2-3 inning. Why do I like Troy Patton so much? I can't give you an answer to that. Funny that he's the last man standing from the Miguel Tejada trade.