The Orioles and Blue Jays faced off today in the O's first home game of the spring, and Miguel Gonzalez took the ball for the Orioles against Drew Hutchinson of the Jays. The starting lineups for both teams was made up mostly of regulars, and while they battled each other the score remained a respectable 2-1 in favor of the Orioles. It was only after the regulars were out of the game that all heck broke loose, resulting in a 9-7 Orioles win thanks to a seven-run eighth inning.
Miguel Gonzalez had a quick first inning, but got into knocked around in the second as the Jays got to him for two singles and a triple. A double play in the middle meant that only one run scored. The O's got back on top in the bottom of the third, as new Orioles David Lough and Nelson Cruz got on base via single and walk, respectively. Chris Davis muscled a double the opposite way to knock both runners in and give the O's a 2-1 lead.
By the start of the sixth inning, the Orioles had made substitutions for pretty much their entire starting lineup, but the Jays still had most of their regulars in. Edgmer Escalona came in to pitch for the O's and he was not good. He managed to retired Adam Lind and Jose Bautista, but everyone else owned him. He gave up singles, he gave up doubles, he gave up walks. And the icing on the cake was a three-run homer by former Oriole (if you blinked last season, you missed him) Dan Johnson. It's only spring training, but Escalona did not make a very good impression.
The Jays added one run in the top of the eighth, and in the bottom of the inning the Orioles scrubs played their hearts out and knocked around a pitcher allegedly named Deck McGuire. Francisco Peguero and Steve Pearce singled, followed by a walk to Ivan De Jesus to load the bases. Johnny Monell struck out, but Jonathan Schoop singled in a run. That was it for Deck McGuire, who was replaced by another guy whose name isn't as cool as Deck McGuire. Xavier Paul singled in another run and Julio Borbon knocked in a run on a force out. The O's scrubs re-loaded the bases just in time for Peguero to get his second at-bat of the inning, and he hit a sweet shot to right-center field for a bases-clearing triple. Nice!
Evan Meek, who is larger than I would have guessed from his name, pitched a clean ninth inning to wrap up the win. The Orioles are now 2-0 in the Grapefruit League.
Tomorrow the Orioles take on the Boston Red Sox. If you have MLB.tv or MLB Network, the game will be broadcast there beginning at 1:05.
- MASN had a very nice tribute to Monica Barlow, their PR director who passed away yesterday from cancer, throughout the game. Stories from Gary Thorne, Buck Showalter, and Adam Jones, along with tweets from others who knew her (such as Amber Theoharis), along with pictures of Monica between innings. It was sad but lovely.
- It's spring training for the announcers, too, as Gary Thorne pronounced Edgmer Escalona's name as Es-ca-LAH-na and referred to the Blue Jays' manager as Jay Gibbons instead of John Gibbons.
- New Orioles David Lough and Nelson Cruz made a good first impression. Cruz didn't have a hit, but he walked twice. I will always accept that. And Lough had a single and a stolen base on offense, and made a sweet diving catch on defense.
- Franciso Peguero was the only Oriole with more than one hit, and he had them both in the same inning! We don't give Most Birdland Player awards for spring games, but if we did, he earned it.