For a few innings of Sunday's games, the Orioles and Pirates looked to be on the road to kissing their sisters. They were spared the tie by a Mark Hendrickson appearance in the eighth inning as the O's gave up two runs in the inning and ultimately lost, 4-2. The offense will wake up eventually, but today was not the day.
Steve Pearce provided the biggest offensive highlight with a two-run home run in the sixth inning. That was Pearce's second home run of the spring. With a 2-3 day, Pearce is now batting .400 for the spring. Yes, I know, it's only in 20 at-bats, but at least he's showing something so far. The rest of the hitters mostly are not.
Starting against his former team, Travis Snider had himself a day as well, going 3-4. For all the times he reached base, he never scored, though. Pearce and Snider combined for five of the seven Orioles hits on the afternoon. Adam Jones added a single. The other six Orioles starting batters did not get a hit at all.
Pitching was something of a mixed bag at best on the afternoon. Wei-Yin Chen was supposed to go four innings but only finished 3.1. He gave up two runs on seven hits in that time. That's not a crisp day. Chen is working on a new changeup grip here in spring training, which could be one source of his trouble. Hopefully he can get that sorted out in the next three weeks.
In relief of Chen, Mike Wright came on and shut the door, helped out by Pittsburgh's Josh Harrison popping up a bunt into a double play. Wright added another two innings after that, allowing no runs on one hit and no walks while striking out three. Steve Johnson pitched a scoreless seventh, striking out two while giving up a hit.
That brought us to Hendrickson in the eighth, who managed to give up two runs and it might have been more except the first base umpire blew a call in the Orioles' favor. The Orioles' substitute shortstop bobbled a routine grounder before tossing to first. Television replays seemed to show the runner beat the throw. Being as it was spring there was no official replay available in the game, and also it was the bottom of the eighth and probably everyone wanted the game to end.
Next up for the Orioles will be a road game on Monday afternoon against the Phillies. This game will not be on TV or the radio in the Baltimore area, though if you are in Philly or are an mlb.tv subscriber, you will be able to watch that broadcast.