Mark Reynolds hits a two-run double off Twins starter Francisco… (Reuters photo )
Sarasota, Fla. — The Orioles put their hitting shoes back on at Ed Smith Stadium on Wednesday afternoon, hammering Francisco Liriano and the Minnesota Twins, 11-2, in the first game of another split-squad day in South Florida.
The Orioles' "A" team benefited from a cool, sunny afternoon with the wind blowing out hard to left field. Vladimir Guerrero, Adam Jones and Ryan Adams enjoyed it most of all, slamming long home runs to carry Jake Arrieta to his first victory of the exhibition season. The Orioles are now 5-5-2 in exhibition play.
Guerrero lined his second homer of the spring over the left-field fence and may have put a dent in one of the Twins' team buses. Jones lit up former O's prospect Jim Hoey with a drive that cleared the picnic area behind left field and hit the facing of Ed Smith's brand-new party pavilion.
Adams applied the icing in the bottom of the eighth with another shot into the party area to account for the 11th run of the biggest offensive performance since the O's scored 12 runs in their first game at the renovated ballpark March 1.
Arrieta pitched three innings and gave up a run on three hits, the only run scoring on a solo homer by Twins third baseman Luke Hughes. He looked comfortable on the mound and displayed better command than in his two-inning debut against the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland last week.
"I'm getting more comfortable in game situations, [with] guys in the box,'' Arrieta said. "The atmosphere of just being more of a big league setting. Just getting more comfortable around the zone with all my pitches. My breaking balls were a lot better today, a little bit more crisp. Just everything felt better, as I expected it to, my second time out. I only expect it to get better as spring goes on."
Luke Scott started his second game at first base and struggled a bit defensively, but he ended his spring hit drought with a single in the third inning.
"Now we're cooking with grease,'' manager Buck Showalter said. "I told Luke and [Matt Wieters] at stretch that they are going to be my picks to start the off the season as the hottest hitters on the club."
In Fort Myers, Ryan Drese got through three innings and allowed just one run — despite a couple of rocky moments and a handful of hard-hit balls — in the Orioles' 2-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox before an announced 7,406 at City of Palms Park.
The Red Sox won the game in the bottom of the ninth when Orioles reliever Wynn Pelzer loaded the bases with no outs and then was ruled to have hit Yamaico Navarro with a pitch. The ball appeared to make contact both with Navarro's bat and hand as it deflected toward the Orioles' dugout.
However, Navarro was awarded first base, and the winning run came home. Showalter had a brief conversation with home plate umpire Tim Timmons before walking back toward the visiting clubhouse.
Drese, who hadn't given up a run in his first two outings this spring, allowed a solo homer to J.D. Drew in the second inning and two other hits. He walked one and struck out one in a 41-pitch outing.
"I felt good. My sinker, I didn't get it down in the zone as much as I wanted to in the first inning or so," Drese said. "The third inning, I started feeling really good. I started getting on top of the ball better and locating the ball down. That's where I wanted to be."
Drese, 34, is considered a long shot to make the club, but he has opened some eyes this spring, allowing just one run, four hits and one walk in seven innings.
"That's why I came here, to try and win a spot. It's been fun so far," said Drese, who hasn't pitched in the big leagues since 2006, when he made two starts for the Washington Nationals. "I want to play in the big leagues this year. I would love it to be with the Orioles, but like I said, at this point in my career, I want to pitch in the big leagues. This is why I'm here. Hopefully it could be with the Orioles, but if not, then I'd welcome [another] opportunity as well."
Shut out for seven innings, the Orioles tied the game at 1 in the top of the eighth when first baseman Joe Mahoney hit a leadoff triple off Randy Williams and scored on Matt Angle's sacrifice fly to left field.
Armando Gabino and Mike Ballard each threw two scoreless innings in relief of Drese. Wynn Pelzer also pitched a scoreless eighth.
The Orioles had several chances off Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz but came up empty. Trying to score from third on Brendan Harris' ground ball in the second inning, Jake Fox was thrown out at the plate by Boston shortstop Marco Scutaro.
In the fourth, a leadoff single by Felix Pie and a one-out double by Josh Bell put runners on second and third with one out. However, Harris fouled out to first baseman Drew Sutton, and Brandon Snyder grounded out to end the inning with the Red Sox leading 1-0.
Jeff Zrebiec reported from Fort Myers.