SARASOTA, Fla. — The Orioles ran into a string of fine pitching performances by the Minnesota Twins on Monday and managed just three hits in a 5-0 loss at Ed Smith Stadium.
Starter Kevin Slowey and Nick Blackburn each pitched three innings, gave up a hit and a walk and struck out two.
The Twins scored two runs off Orioles starting pitcher Brian Matusz in the top of the first inning, which was really all they would need to send the Orioles to their fifth loss in their first six Grapefruit League exhibition games.
Matusz worked 2 2/3 innings and gave up three hits, but he continued to overpower hitters with his fastball and changeup. He struck out six batters and has now struck out 10 in just four innings on the mound.
"I felt good today,'' Matusz said. "I felt real good. I thought I pounded the zone just like I wanted to today. ... The fastball in and out was excellent today. I threw some effective changeups. I felt comfortable out there. Everything felt good."
Closer Mike Gonzalez made his second exhibition appearance and threw a scoreless inning, though he needed a double-relay from center field to cut down a potential run at the plate.
"I definitely worked on some things this time as opposed to last time," he said. "I was very high, I missed down in the zone, so that's a lot better for me. I got another base on balls, but I missed down and I worked on some pitches. I worked on my changeup a few more times this inning, so overall it was a positive day for me."