Duchscherer throws two scoreless innings as Orioles lose to Phillies, 4-3

Rule 5 pick Rosario allows game-winning two-run single in ninth inning

March 08, 2011|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

CLEARWATER, Fla. — Justin Duchscherer accomplished his one goal Tuesday, walking off the mound without pain in his left hip.

Duchscherer threw two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and walking one in his first Grapefruit League start and first game action since April 29. The Orioles lost to the Philadelphia Phillies, 4-3, before an announced 9,039 at Bright House Field. They are 4-4-2 on the exhibition season.

They took a one-run lead into the ninth, but Rule 5 pick Adrian Rosario failed to get an out in the inning, allowing two walks, a bunt single and a game-winning two-run single to Carlos Rivero.

However, that did little to temper the Orioles' enthusiasm after a healthy and productive outing from Duchscherer.

"I really didn't know what to expect," said Duchscherer, who had his third hip surgery in June. "My only goal today was to go out there and be pain-free, and that was accomplished. I wasn't going out there for certain results or anything like that. I just wanted to throw and come off the field and not feel like my hip was hurting. That was accomplished."

Duchscherer, 33, needed just 12 pitches to turn in a perfect first inning, retiring Shane Victorino, Placido Polanco and Jimmy Rollins on ground balls. In the second, he issued a leadoff walk to Ryan Howard and a two-out double to John Mayberry Jr. but retired Carlos Ruiz to end the inning.

"It was hard," Duchscherer said. "I think right now, I'm trying to get over the mental hurdle, that mentally I can do it without hurting. When I am at my best, I know what I have. I feel like I can hit the mitt with any pitch at any time. I'm out there confident, and I just do what I do. Right now, I'm a little tentative. I'm worried about my mechanics, where am I landing, how am I landing, and that kind of stuff. For me today, it was a good learning process. It's going to give me confidence for the next one to build on. "

Fellow starter Brian Matusz, who was pitching for the first time since having a wart removed from the middle finger of his pitching hand last Friday, followed Duchscherer and went 21/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits and a walk and striking out one.

"Overall, I got my work in, I got my pitches in, I got in what I needed to," said Matusz, who acknowledged that it was different coming in from the bullpen and trying to find his rhythm.

He also said the wart is not an issue anymore: "I felt good. I felt like it was a pretty successful day."

Howard connected for an opposite-field solo homer off Matusz to start the fourth and cut the Orioles' lead to 2-1. In the fifth, Matusz issued a leadoff walk to Carlos Ruiz and was pulled from the game after Josh Barfield's groundout. He threw 52 pitches, 36 for strikes.

Chris George relieved Matusz and surrendered a game-tying RBI double to Shane Victorino.

The Orioles reclaimed the lead on Josh Bell's two-out double in the sixth. Bell had a sacrifice fly as part of the Orioles' two-run first off Phillies starter Cole Hamels, who also surrendered an RBI double to Jake Fox in the inning.

Michael Gonzalez and Jim Johnson pitched scoreless innings and protected the Orioles' one-run lead, but after turning in a scoreless eighth, Rosario couldn't do the same in the ninth.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jeffzrebiecsun

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