The Orioles and Pirates played a rare prime-time game today, making it almost feel like the regular season. Well, not quite. But it's closer than when they play at 1 p.m. on a Tuesday. If you sort of tricked yourself into feeling like this was real baseall, the jig was up when it ended in a tie. As you all know, there is no sister kissing in the regular season!
Chris Tillman was sharp in his final tune up before Opening Day, with the only mark against him was a two-run home run by Pedro Alvarez in the second inning. He gave up two hits in that inning and just one other hit in his other four innings combined. Overall he struck out eight and didn't walk any. He threw 85 pitches, 50 for strikes.
The Orioles trailed 2-0 thanks to that Alvarez home run until the next inning, when new Oriole Everth Cabrera hit his first homer of the spring, a shot to left-center field off of Francisco Liriano. It was a good night for Cabrera, who also had an RBI triple in the seventh inning to tie the game, then came in to score what was then the go-ahead run on an infield single from Alejandro De Aza.
Do we have any Brian Matusz fans in the house? Matusz pitched two innings and once again didn't look half bad. The box score will show that in innings six and seven Matusz gave up three hits, but that's misleading. One hit was an infield bunt single and another glanced off of Manny Machado's glove at third, the kind of play you'd normally see Manny make. Matusz did give up a solid single to Andrew McCutchen, but who hasn't? Unfortunately he came back out to start the eighth inning and gave up a long leadoff double to lefty Andrew Lambo, which kind of soured his night.
Darren O'Day followed Matusz and pitched well, though he did allow Matusz's runner to score on a double play ball. After a filthy top of the ninth from closer Zach Britton, the Orioles failed to score in the bottom of the inning despite getting two runners on with no outs and having runners at second and third with one out. The runners were Ryan Flaherty (infield single) and Jayson Nix (walk), and they got into scoring position via a balk.
Infielder-turned-pitcher Mychal Givens (#95 on your scorecard, #1 in your heart) had a nice 1-2-3 top of the 10th inning for the Orioles, but the threesome of Travis Snider, Julio Borbon, and Mike Yastrzemski couldn't do anything in the bottom half. Thus the sister kissing.
For those of you with an interest in Nolan Reimold, he started the game as the leadoff hitter, playing left field. He went 1-for-3 with a line drive single before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. In his postgame interview with Gary Thorne, Nolan refused to speculate on his chances to make the 25-man roster, he says he's just going to keep doing his thing. Nolan reported that he feels good, health-wise, and that his issues are behind him. I really hope that is true.
The Orioles will play another evening game tomorrow, an away game against the Braves. Game time is 6:05 it is only being broadcast on Braves radio. The starting pitcher for the Orioles will be Wei-Yin Chen against Alex Wood for the Braves.