Baltimore Orioles win on Henry Urrutia’s bat


Henry Urrutia has quietly had a great spring training for the Baltimore Orioles. Urrutia’s hitting .333 with six RBI, including a big one yesterday. And that’s good news for the O’s and Chris Tillman, who pitched four solid innings as a starter in the Orioles’ 6-4 victory over Pittsburgh yesterday. Tillman’s line: 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K. Similar to Ubaldo Jimenez, Tillman has been incredibly strong thus far this spring when it comes to keeping his walks down. The fewer guys on base the fewer opportunities anyone has to score.

Adam Jones gave the O’s an early 1-0 lead with an RBI-single in the first inning, although it was short-lived after Pittsburgh tied the score with a sac fly in the second. However the Birds were reminded as to why they passed on Steve Lombardozzi earlier this year, when (following a Travis Snider double) he threw a routine infield grounder into right field which allowed Chris Davis to get aboard as well as scoring Snider to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead. 

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Following a Pittsburgh sac fly in the fifth which tied the score, Ryan Flaherty put the Orioles ahead once again with a solo homer. That should be a welcome sight for more than one reason give the fact that Flaherty came out of Tuesday’s game after being hit in the helmet. Any negative effects of that seem to have worn off. For good measure, Adam Jones added his first homer of the spring later in the inning and the Orioles led 4-2.

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And it’s a good thing that he did homer, because Corey Hart brought Pittsburgh to within 4-3 with a solo homer of his own, followed by an Elvis Escobar RBI-triple in the seventh which tied the score. For awhile, it looked like we might be headed for the Orioles’ first tie of the spring…and then Urrutia came to bat in the last of the eighth…

…and Urrutia showed the same ice water in his veins in the clutch that we’ve seen over time by the likes of Jones, Chris Davis, and others. Urrutia’s solo homer put the O’s up for good, and they even added on an insurance run with an RBI-double by Ryan Lavarnway later in the inning. Heroics as such in a spring training game are certainly a far cry from Delmon Young‘s 8th inning bases-clearing double in the ALDS last year, however if you’re an Orioles fan it has to give you some hope for the future.

Tillman told MASNsports‘ Steve Melewski that he was happy with his four-inning outing:

"Fastball command was really good. Changeup got better as the game went, cutter was really good. Curveball got better as the game went on, so I think it was good, both out of the windup and the stretch."

What we’re seeing from Tillman and from other Oriole starters is that they’re getting stronger as the spring has progressed. And the same can now certainly be said of Oriole bats. We’ve seen both Davis and now Jones start to heat up (as much as one can in spring training at least) over the course of the past couple of days. These all point to positive things happening once the curtain comes up on Opening Day.

The O’s will head back to Fort Myers this afternoon to take on Boston, with Brian Matusz making another start for the Birds. He’ll be opposed by Boston’s Justin Masterson.

Next: Baltimore Orioles: Can Ryan Flaherty hang onto his roster spot?