For a second straight game in spring training, the Orioles scored a bunch of runs. Unlike yesterday's game, however, they also gave up even more runs. They were beaten by the Twins, 10-9, despite a flurry of late offense by the O's. It wasn't enough to overcome the deficit.
On the whole, you're not going to win very many games where your pitching staff lets the other team homer for the cycle. That is, they gave up a solo home run, a two-run home run, a three-run home run, and a grand slam. They even hit them in this order chronologically in the game. All ten of their runs were scored as a result of home runs. Yikes.
Starter Bud Norris surrendered the first two home runs, with Trevor Plouffe connecting in the second inning and one-time Yankees shortstop of the future Eduardo Nunez hitting one in the fourth inning. Charitably to Bud, one might note that, being as it was a spring training game with a very particular wind flow, the jet stream on fly balls to left field was in effect. Both of those home runs went out to left field. So maybe, as Jim Palmer observed on the MASN telecast, they would have been harmless in more ordinary regular season conditions.
Norris gave up three runs on five hits and a walk in four innings of work.
The lone early Orioles run off the bat of Chris Davis was a solo home run that barely cleared the left field fence, likely also a jet stream shot, though Chris is, of course, a very strong man. Wind or not, if he's driving the ball the other way, that is one hopeful sign to carry forward towards the regular season.
Then there were the other home runs. Tommy Hunter gave up the three-run shot to Kennys Vargas in the fifth inning. That went to right-center field, going against the wind if anything. Things have gone wrong enough if a pitcher ends up with two men on base. When a home run ball goes boom after that, even worse.
The next inning, Minnesota's Eduardo Escobar hit a grand slam off T.J. McFarland, who wasn't even able to complete a full inning before being lifted. Four runs on four hits and two walks in only two-thirds of an inning is not so good. Yikes.
Orioles reserves pulled back most of the deficit later on in the game. J.J. Hardy drove in two runs with a single in the sixth inning, making the score 10-3. The bench got the rest over the seventh and eighth. The Orioles split their ten hits between their starting nine and the reserves, but the reserves walked a few times and clumped their offense together better. That includes three runs driven in off the bat of Steve Clevenger and a 2-2 day by Jimmy Paredes, who almost had a home run but instead had to settle for a two-run triple.
Paredes has the early lead for spring training All-Star who might not even make the team. He made an error at third base, showing why he's a bit of a long shot to be on the team no matter what he does with his bat. The Orioles don't look to be constructed in a way that makes room for Paredes on the roster.
Darren O'Day, Wesley Wright, and Tim Berry came together for a scoreless inning apiece to keep the Twins off the board while the Orioles tried to mount a comeback in the game's late innings.
In the minus column, Matt Wieters continued his hitless spring in his first start behind the plate.
It always sucks when the Orioles lose, especially when they give up a ton of runs, even if it doesn't count. Still, today had yet another story from around baseball that showed why the Orioles are succeeding in the spring: No one is getting hurt. In Tampa's game day, the Rays' Alex Cobb was removed early with forearm tightness. That would be a significant loss for an O's division rival if it turns out to be the worst case scenario.
The Orioles - knock on wood - are making it through without any big injuries. That's not to say no one is getting hurt at all. Ryan Flaherty was hit by a pitch in the head in today's game. He was lifted immediately for a pinch runner, and though manager Buck Showalter told reporters he's fine, Flaherty also won't be making the trip for tomorrow's game as a precaution.
Next up for the O's is another game against the Twins, this time on the road. The game will not be on TV or the radio anywhere, either in Baltimore or the Twin Cities. Unless you are in attendance in Fort Myers, the game will not exist.