The Baltimore Orioles returned to Sarasota today from their Florida East Coast trip to take on the Minnesota Twins in Sarasota. Keegan Akin got the start for the O’s, and despite surrendering a solo homer, looked pretty good. Akin’s line: 2.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K.
Akin made one mistake. In essence, one bad pitch. Former Oriole Cruz smacked a solo homer in the first inning. But that’s how you learn. Over the years numerous pitchers have struggled against him. Including many Oriole opponents in 2014.
The O’s evened things up in the last of the third when Chris Davis smacked an RBI-single. This only to see Minnesota re-take the lead in the fourth on Celestino’s RBI-single. And the score stood at 2-1 in favor of Minnesota until the end.
And at that, I mean the bitter end. As in the ninth. Minnesota added a solo homer in the top of the ninth. That’s what one would normally call an insurance run. But keep in mind that the mark of this team last year was that they never gave up. They played until the end. And that was the case today.
Following a walk and a base hit in the last of the ninth, T.J. Nichting smacked an RBI-single to right, bringing the O’s to within 3-2. Austin Wynns then yielded another run on an infield RBI-single. That tied the game at three – which is where it ended.
Again, wins and losses don’t matter in these games. Neither do ties, which as we know doesn’t happen in the regular season. But the part of this game that’s promising is that the guys in the game at the end – including Austin Wynns – refused to allow the O’s to lose. That’s the type of pedigree that you want on the team and within the organization. As tough as last season was, we saw it then. And we’ve seen it here and there this spring.
Chris Davis continued his hot spring with an RBI this afternoon. If he can continue this trend into the regular season, that should equal a win or two more for the O’s. Not all of them need to be homers, but if he can get on base that helps. And it helps a lot at that.
The O’s head to Tampa tomorrow evening to take on the NY Yankees at Steinbrenner Field (in what’ll be the first night game for the Orioles this spring). Tom Eschelman gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by New York’s Deivi Garcia. Game time is set for just after 6:30 PM.