Baltimore Orioles fall in Grapefruit opener

The Baltimore Orioles didn’t have the exhibition opener they would have liked this afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium. Neither did starter Thomas Eshelman. While Eshelman only gave up one earned run, he set the table for a big inning. Eshelman’s line: 1 IP, 1 H 2 R (one earned), 2 BB, 1 K.

Eshelman loaded the bases in the first inning. And if I’ve said it once I’ve said it several times over the years – when guys get on base things can happen. Sure enough with one out, Polanco smacked a ground ball to Trey Mancini at first base. That could have ended the inning, however Mancini’s errant throw allowed two runs to score.

Polanco would come up again in the third, and would promptly smack a two-run homer out of Ed Smith stadium, giving Pittsburgh a 4-0 lead. However in the bottom of that third inning Chris Davis would reach on an error, getting the O’s on the board and cutting the Pittsburgh lead to 4-1. Ironically, it was Polanco who committed the error.

Pittsburgh would net two more runs, including one on a solo homer. However the Orioles tried to make a day of it. Yusniel Diaz smacked a two-run homer in the last of the sixth. Austin Wynns would also reach on an error, but the Birds fell 6-4 in their Grapefruit League opener.

Remember folks, these games aren’t necessarily about wins and losses. You want to win, but most importantly you want to get yourself ready for the season. And that’s what the O’s are doing.

The best moment of the day was perhaps Mancini’s first at-bat of the day, of course coming off of cancer treatment. Both dugouts emptied and the O’s and Pittsburgh gave him a standing ovation. Mancini on his reception (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

It meant the world to me. It was a really, really cool moment and one of my favorite moments of my baseball career. I think it was a huge day for me personally, getting back in a game. Another kind of milestone I can check off here.

Tomorrow the O’s will head to Clearwater, FL to take on the Philadelphia Phillies at BayCare Ballpark. Jorge Lopez gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Philadelphia’s Aaron Nola. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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