Orioles nearly no-hit by Yankees in 10-0 loss

Guerrero gets O's only hit as New York's Nova pitches gem

March 16, 2011|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

TAMPA — While the Orioles decided not to use a member of their projected rotation in Wednesday night's game against an American League East foe, they helped the New York Yankees make a decision about theirs.

Ivan Nova, a 24-year-old right-hander, threw six spectacular, no-hit innings, basically cementing a spot in the Yankees' rotation in their 10-0 rout over the Orioles.

Nova plunked Robert Andino to lead off the game and immediately induced a double play. The Dominican right-hander was practically perfect after that against an Orioles lineup that featured six projected regulars.

The only other Oriole to reach base in Nova's six innings was Adam Jones, who got to first on an Alex Rodriguez error in the fourth. Nova struck out four while allowing no hits and no walks and facing 19 batters, just one over the minimum.

Perhaps most impressive, Nova needed just 59 pitches, 41 for strikes, in six innings.

Vladimir Guerrero broke up the Yankees' no-hitter with a two-out double in the seventh against Mariano Rivera. It was the only Orioles hit of the game.

The Orioles countered with a cadre of relievers on Wednesday night, choosing to have starter Jeremy Guthrie avoid facing an AL East lineup and pitch in a minor-league game Wednesday afternoon instead.

Set-up man Jim Johnson started for the Orioles, allowing three hits and one run in one inning, a RBI double by Mark Teixeira on a 3-0 count. He allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base, but Derek Jeter's infield single nicked Johnson's glove and Nick Swisher singled into the left-side hole on a hit-and-run.

Johnson escaped further damage when Rodriguez hit a hard grounder to Mark Reynolds, who tagged Swisher leaning off third and then threw to first to get Rodriguez. Robinson Cano ended the inning with a hard liner to first.

"Obviously, I need to field my position, but I missed a lot of the sweet spots, the only really well hit balls were the 3-0 [by Teixeira] and the curve ball that Cano lined out on," said Johnson, who said he didn't change his preparation for the one-inning start. "But I can't be too upset. I threw the ball well, I thought."

Michael Gonzalez allowed one earned run in an inning pitched and Clay Rapada allowed two runs in his one-inning appearance. Mark Hendrickson threw two scoreless.

The worst performance was turned in by Rick VandenHurk, who didn't retire any of the six batters he faced, walking three.

VandenHurk was charged with all five runs in the seventh and now has allowed 12 runs (nine earned) on 10 hits and eight walks in six-plus innings spanning four games.

The Orioles are 8-9-2 this spring.

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

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