Baltimore Orioles: Yovani Gallardo struggles but Birds win

Courtesy of Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

Yovani Gallardo had some early struggles but the Baltimore Orioles rallied over Philadelphia for their second spring victory.

The Baltimore Orioles saw the importance of good starting pitching this afternoon, as Yovani Gallardo seemed to struggle out of the gate. Now in fairness he gave up a couple of wind-aided homers, however those count as much as anything else. Gallardo’s line: 2.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 1 K.

Courtesy of Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
Courtesy of Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports /

Philadelphia notched two home runs in the first inning to take an early lead, and another – this one of the three-run variety –  off the bat of Franco in the third. Wind-aided or not, this forced the O’s to play catch-up for the entire day. They trailed for all but four outs of the game. But in terms of winning and losing in a game that doesn’t count, those four outs made all the difference.

The Fighting Showalters started to battle back in the last of the third. Caleb Joseph‘s RBI-double cut the lead to 5-1, which was trimmed further to 5-2 on Flaherty’s sac fly-RBI. However Philadelphia wasn’t the only team that had some pop in their bats this afternoon. Manny Machado closed the scoring in the inning with a two-run homer, which brought the O’s to within one at 5-4.

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  • Philadelphia would score again in the fifth on a wild pitch, and then they would move their lead back to three at 7-4 off of a Blanco RBI-double. Philadelphia seemed to be in control, that is until Adam Jones stepped to the plate in the last of the sixth. On his final at-bat of the afternoon, he uncorked a solo home run which brought the Birds to within 7-5.

    Philadelphia would load the bases in the last of the eighth, with Xavier Avery coming to the plate. Avery worked the count and was able to draw a walk, which cut the lead to 7-6. One could all but cut through the drama with a butter knife at Ed Smith stadium by that point, as the home crowd came to realize that the O’s had a shot at winning…

    …I kid folks. It’s spring training, which really drives home the line if they don’t win it’s a shame. However winning is always a good thing, and the Orioles were able to take the lead on Paul Janish‘s two-RBI single a moment later. They would protect an 8-7 lead through the ninth, giving the Birds their second victory of spring training.

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    Gallardo’s in this for the long haul, and he just needs to work on straightening out his pitches a bit. He threw a lot of heat this afternoon, which was probably by design. However early in the game Philadelphia hitters were squaring those pitches up, and they were ending up in the seats. And it’s mechanical failures like that which is why we play these spring games.

    Exhibition game or not, it was also good to see the Orioles’ reserves battle back. Janish worked the count nicely in that key at-bat in the eighth inning, and with the game on the line at that moment it was exactly what Showalter and the coaching staff wanted to see. Yes I suppose it’s easy to do that with such low stakes – but it’s a good sign for the organization. The Orioles took the precautionary measure of sending Matt Wieters off for an MRI on his elbow after coming out of Saturday’s game. The expectation is that Wieters will be the Opening Day catcher, however it’s being done out of an abundance of caution.

    The Orioles will head to Dunedin, FL tomorrow afternoon to take on their division rivals, the Toronto Blue Jays. Chris Tillman will make his Grapefruit League debut for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Jesse Chavez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.