Orioles regulars rally to top Red Sox, 4-3, while reserves fall to Blue Jays, 9-5

Guthrie concludes spring by allowing four runs on 12 hits against Toronto's starting nine

March 27, 2011|By Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

DUNEDIN, Fla. — One Orioles starting pitcher simply was tuning up for Opening Night, while another was trying to make the club for the final time this spring.

The pitching lines weren't impressive and the game results were mixed Sunday as the Orioles' reserves lost, 9-5, to the Toronto Blue Jays in Dunedin and the starters beat the Boston Red Sox, 4-3, before an announced sellout crowd of 8,495 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.

Jeremy Guthrie, who was making his final start of the spring before pitching the regular season opener versus the Tampa Bay Rays on Friday night, allowed four runs on 12 hits in five innings against a Blue Jays lineup that featured all nine regulars in Dunedin.

In Sarasota, it was Chris Tillman on the mound hoping to secure a final spot in the rotation. He didn't bolster his cause, allowing three runs on six hits, four walks and a hit batter over 52/3 innings.

The Orioles' projected Opening Day lineup did next to nothing before opening the bottom of the eighth with five straight hits off Red Sox right-handed reliever Santo Luis. Matt Wieters tied the score with a two-run, bases-loaded single, and infield prospect Ryan Adams gave the Orioles the lead with a line single to center.

Right fielder Nick Markakis drove in the Orioles' other run with a third-inning single off former teammate Matt Albers, who is bidding for a job in the Red Sox's Opening Day bullpen.

In relief of Tillman, Alberto Castillo got the final out of the sixth on a strikeout, and three of the Orioles' late-game relievers — Koji Uehara, Kevin Gregg and Michael Gonzalez — turned in scoreless innings. Gonzalez notched the save by getting three outs in the ninth.

It was Gregg's first appearance in a Grapefruit League game since March 15 and Uehara's first big league outing since Feb. 28, the Orioles' spring opener. Gregg allowed a hit and a walk, while Uehara retired all three batters he faced on fly balls.

"I need to work on [my stuff]," Uehara said through interpreter Jiwon Bang. "I need to get there. I'm not there yet, but processwise, I'm in a good place."

In Dunedin, Guthrie was hoping to get his work in and escape without injury. He allowed a two-run home run to Yunel Escobar, walked a batter, hit another and threw a wild pitch that scored a run.

"I would have liked to have been able to get more quality pitches, would have loved to have gotten more outs and been a little more efficient in the strike zone," Guthrie said. "But overall, it feels all right."

Guthrie said he felt fine after throwing 96 pitches (67 strikes). He got out of several jams, including one in the fifth in which he had runners on second and third and one out and struck out Edwin Encarnacion and J.P. Arencibia. The defense behind Guthrie — which included Robert Andino in left field for the first time this spring and Nolan Reimold struggling in unfamiliar territory in right — had difficulties much of the afternoon.

"We wanted to see Robbie [Andino] out in left," said bench coach Willie Randolph, who was managing the Orioles in Dunedin. "We have been trying to get him out there for a while. And he did surround a couple, but you can expect that. It was a real tough wind. It's always a tough place to play because of the wind conditions."

The Orioles had trouble against Toronto's expected Opening Day starter, Ricky Romero, through five innings but chased him in a four-run sixth while taking a 5-4 lead. Nick Green had a two-run homer, and Felix Pie and Brendan Harris each had RBIs.

The Jays scored once in the sixth against Pat Egan, who was making his first appearance with the Orioles after spending most of camp with the Milwaukee Brewers as a Rule 5 selection. Egan, who was offered back to the Orioles this week, was charged with two more runs in Toronto's four-run seventh. Clay Rapada and Mark Hendrickson also yielded a run each.

Guthrie finished with a 6.43 ERA in 14 major league innings this spring. He also allowed three runs in 11 minor league innings.

"I feel good out there, healthy and strong and ready to start the season," Guthrie said. "It's been a good spring training, and I think everyone is excited for the season to start."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

twitter.com/danconnollysun

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

twitter.com/jeffzrebiecsun

Zrebiec reported from Sarasota.

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