After three days of baseball inactivity due to rain, the Orioles return to action with a doubleheader in an interleague matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the rain-interrupted first game of the doubleheader, the O's received timely hits and timely stops to win 5-1 against their 1971 World Series opponent.
Steve Pearce, just re-signed to a major league contract after being designated for assignment, plays 1B in place of the injured Chris Davis. Pearce contributed on both sides of the ball in this game. In the third inning, Pearce fielded a sharp grounder by Neil Walker to end the inning with two men on base. In the 4th, Starling Marte was on second base with one out when Jordy Mercer grounds into a routine play to shortstop J.J. Hardy. Pearce was able to double off Marte attempting for third base on Hardy's throw to first with an accurate throw that ended the inning. At the plate, he singled in the first run of the game for the O's in the 5th inning with bases loaded and no out to tie the game. Ryan Flaherty followed with a single of his own to give the O's a two-run lead. Pearce added an insurance run for the O's in the 6th inning with another single to LF. Nick Markakis added another insurance run in the 7th with a solo shot to right center field, just the first HR of the season for Markakis.
Bud Norris was not at his best today. He used 20 pitches to get through each of the first three innings and left the game after only 5.1 IP. Despite his struggle, he only gave up one run due to some timely strikeouts and defensive plays. Ryan Webb, Zach Britton, Darren O'Day, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter all made appearances in the first game of the doubleheader, making the second game a bit of a headache for the O's if Chris Tillman cannot pitch deep into the game. Despite some baserunners, the bullpen did not allow a single run and secured the lead.
The second game of the doubleheader is coming up, with Tillman going against Brandon Cumpton.