Matusz fares well in Orioles' loss against Twins

Despite club's defeat, O's starter 'felt good' about his performance vs. Minnesota

March 03, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

SARASOTA, Fla. — Brian Matusz got his 2011 season underway with two scoreless innings in the Orioles' 2-0 loss against the Minnesota Twins before an announced 4,749 Thursday at Ed Smith Stadium.

The Orioles fell to 3-1 in the Grapefruit League this spring.

The Twins broke a scoreless tie in the eighth with two runs off Orioles right-hander Chorye Spoone. Brian Dozier scored the first run on a sacrifice fly to right field and Luke Hughes added an RBI single. Spoone allowed three hits in the frame.

Matusz wasn't particularly sharp early, throwing just nine of his 19 pitches in the first inning for strikes and issuing a two-out walk to Hughes. However, he retired the final four batters that he faced and found the strike zone with 11 of his 16 pitches.

"I wanted to go out and attack the zone like I did last spring," Matusz said. "That was my goal. And when I got out there, I felt good. I felt like I had all my stuff warming up. I got a little antsy, I got a little jumpy with some of my breaking pitches, where I wasn't taking my time. I was kind of rushing through it and not hitting my spots, but I was able to settle myself down. I got a couple three-ball counts, which I'd love to avoid, but I was able to make some good pitches when I needed to. And the best part about it is I feel healthy, I feel strong, and having this outing makes me even more excited about getting out there the next time."

Matusz was followed by scoreless outings from Kevin Gregg, Jeremy Accardo, Adrian Rosario, Josh Rupe and Wynn Pelzer.

Carl Pavano started for the Twins and allowed just one hit -- a two-out single by his former Minnesota teammate, J.J. Hardy -- in the third inning. Hardy got thrown out trying to steal second by Drew Butera to end the frame.

Mark Reynolds had two hits for the Orioles, whose best scoring opportunity came in the sixth when Josh Bell led off with a double. However, Chuck James got out of the jam with the help of a diving catch by left fielder Jason Repko on Nick Markakis' line drive.

The Orioles brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the bottom in the eighth in the form of Nick Green, but former Oriole Jim Hoey struck him out swinging.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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