The Baltimore Orioles dropped a hard-fought ballgame this afternoon at Hammond Stadium in Ft. Myers against Minnesota. Grayson Rodriguez provided the Birds with another strong outing. If it was a regular season game, we’d say that he set the table. Rodriguez’s line: 3.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K.
Anthony Bemboon was on third base in the top of the second when Minnesota pitcher Maeda was called for a balk. That allowed Benboom to score, giving the Orioles a 1-0 lead. Minnesota would tie the game at one in the bottom of the inning on Miranda’s solo homer, the lone run surrendered by Rodriguez.
Minnesota would take a 2-1 lead in the last of the fourth on Jeffers’ RBI-double. However the O’s battled back. With two runners on in the sixth, Josh Lester smacked a two-RBI double, giving the Birds the lead back at 3-2.
One inning later Jackson Holliday continued his hot spring with an RBI-single, extending the Orioles’ lead to 4-2. Minnesota would add a run in the seventh, but the Birds appeared to break the game wide open in the eighth. Robert Neustrom added a sac fly-RBI, and Shane Fontana reached on an error, scoring another run and extending the lead to 6-3.
At this point all the Orioles needed to do was shut Minnesota down. Or to record three outs in the last of the ninth before Minnesota scored three runs. This after Holland’s RBI-double cut the lead to 6-4.
Brandon Hyde tapped Olfreidy Gomez to pitch the ninth inning. The first problem was he allowed two runners into scoring position. This with less than two outs. However he allowed both runners to score on wild pitches. He uncorked a third one to drive in the winning run, and the Birds headed back to Sarasota with a 7-6 loss.
Grayson Rodriguez was strong today, save for the solo homer. But solo home runs won’t kill you. But the lesson in this game lies in attention to detail. Wild pitches will often hurt you. This afternoon several in the same inning cost them the game. Granted it’s spring training, but you play like you practice.
The O’s return to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota tomorrow to take on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Kyle Gibson gets the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Pittsburgh’s Vince Velasquez. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.