Christian Walker had a strong outing as the Baltimore Orioles tied Atlanta 4-4 in game one of Grapefruit League play.
The Baltimore Orioles tied Atlanta at four in ten innings in Orlando this afternoon to officially open Grapefruit League play. The Birds started out smoothly with their B Team, however an Atlanta comeback at the end and one extra inning found the game ending in a tie. However the good news is that Oriole pitching was strong in the beginning, as was their run output.
Mike Wright got the start this afternoon, and he looked pretty darn good in doing so. Wright’s line: 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K. Two innings in spring training game number one a season does not make. That goes without saying. But if you’re going to pitch two innings in a spring game, you might as well look good in doing so. Wright did what he had to do today, and he was impressive in doing so.
If there’s a star of the day in a spring game, it was most definitely Christian Walker in this afternoon’s game. His sac fly-RBI gave the O’s an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first. The man he brought in?…that would
be Ryan Flaherty. And he figured into the next scoring spurt for the Birds. In the top of the third Flaherty smacked the Orioles’ first homer of spring training 2016, and the Birds had a 2-0 lead.
With a runner on later in that inning, Walker would come back up to bat for his second turn at the plate. And right away in 2016 we’re already seeing some of the power for which Walker was advertised, as his two-run homer opened up a 4-0 lead for the Birds. Atlanta would threaten in the last of the third with two runners in scoring position, however Tyler Wilson would strike out Freeman swinging at the plate to end the inning.
That 4-0 lead would hold until the last of the sixth when Atlanta’s Olivera would put them on the board with an RBI-single. However the runner on base would get caught up between first and second, allowing the O’s to tag him out and end the inning. One inning later the lead would be down to 4-2, after Daniel Castro laced an RBI-double off the left field wall.
Former Oriole Ryan Lavarnway would add an RBI-single in the last of the eighth to cut the lead further to 4-3. Later in the inning the Orioles’ Ozzie Martinez allowed a grounder to get by him at third, on a ball that was later ruled an error. That put the tying run at third, and the O’s would later load the bases with a walk. Brignac would later tie the game at four on a sac fly-RBI.
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Orioles reliever Chris Jones gave up the tying run, however it goes as unearned given the error. At the end of the day nobody likes ties of course, however there were a lot of good points for the Orioles in this game. The big one in my mind was Walker, who went 1-for-2 with a homer and three RBI. Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson were bright spots as well. By the time Atlanta began their comeback, all of the players that had started the game on both sides were out.
Obviously very few regular players made the trip, so I wouldn’t look at this as a blown lead or anything along those lines. The Orioles will host this same Atlanta team tomorrow in Sarasota, for the spring home opener. Ubaldo Jimenez will get the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Atlanta’s Aaron Blair. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.