In their second of seven televised Grapefruit League games, the Orioles overcame two deficits to win their fifth game of the spring, outlasting the Detroit Tigers 7-5 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota.
The offense was paced by outfielders Austin Hays and Anthony Santander, who each homered and combined to go 4-5 with four RBI, four runs scored, and two walks. Santander’s three-run home run tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, erasing a 4-1 deficit.
Andrew Cashner made his first start of the spring, throwing 54 pitches over three innings while allowing four runs. He was followed to the mound by pitchers Tanner Scott, Branden Kline, Lucas Long, Gabriel Ynoa, Pedro Araujo, and Cody Carroll, who combined to allow one run over six innings and retired the final 14 Tiger batters in order.
Sunday’s game started with Cashner hitting leadoff hitter, Jacoby Jones, with the second pitch of the day, followed by a single to left by Daniel Woodward. After a Jeimer Candelario flyout, Niko Goodrum stepped to the plate and fell behind 1-2 before Cashner left a fastball middle-in. Goodrum deposited the pitch over the right field fence and the Tigers had a 3-0 lead four batters into the game.
After the home run, Cashner settled in, retiring seven of the next eight hitters before allowing a fourth run in the third inning. His day ended with a final line of 3 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 K’s, 0 BB, 54 pitches, 37 strikes.
So was the big right hander satisfied with his performance?
“Yeah, I think, you know for me it’s just getting out there and getting back into the swing,” Cashner told MASN’s Gary Thorne. “Fastball’s not really locating like I’d like to, but I think the biggest thing is really working on my slider and changeups down in the zone, and I would say that’s one of the better sliders I’ve featured in a while.”
New Orioles’ pitching coach, Doug Brocail, echoed Cashner’s sentiments, saying, “I liked it. Here’s the deal, is, he threw me 56 pitches the other day in a simulated game. We were hoping to get 50 to 55 today and we got it. You know, the guy comes in, he gives up runs and he’s like, ‘Hey man, I got my work in, I feel great, I made a mistake and we move on,’ and that’s the Andrew Cashner that I had in Texas. He doesn’t let anything bother him.”
The Orioles responded in the third inning when Hays homered to lead off the inning. The left fielder got ahead in the count 3-0 before starter Matthew Boyd battled back to 3-2. Hays used a level swing to handle a letter-high fastball and launched into left centerfield, landing beyond the fence for the Orioles’ first run of the ballgame.
Santander–batting from the right side against the southpaw–followed the home run with a double down the left field line, his first of three extra-base hits on a perfect day at the plate. Jonathan Villar followed with a walk and both runners advanced on a fly out to left by Joey Rickard. Unfortunately for the Orioles, that’s as far as they would go as both Renato Nunez and Chris Davis struck out to end the inning.
Scott replaced Cashner on the mound to start the fourth inning and threw 17 pitches, forcing three groundouts while retiring the side in order. The Orioles, on the other hand, provided more fireworks in the bottom half of the inning.
After Austin Wynns struck out to begin the frame, Yusniel Diaz reached on an infield single and was retired on the base paths as Alcides Escobar grounded into a force out, the relay to first arriving too late. Hays then walked and Santander stepped to the plate as the tying run.
A former Rule V draft pick of the Orioles, the switch-hitting Santander stood in the left-handed batter’s box with a righty on the bump, and drilled a 1-1 pitch to the opposite field for a home run to tie the game. Chris Bostick, batting for Villar after replacing him defensively in the top half, ended the inning by flying out the left.
Kline was the next pitcher scheduled to get his work in as he took to the hill to begin the fifth. In his first two appearances of the spring, Kline had been nearly flawless, allowing just one base runner while striking out five in two innings of work. Sunday did not yield such favorable results, as he allowed two singles and a run in 0.2 IP before Lucas Long came in and retired Dustin Peterson on one pitch to end the inning. Not a bad day’s work for Long.
The next three Orioles pitchers (Ynoa, Araujo, and Carroll) needed to just 44 pitchers over the last four innings to retired the final 12 batters, allowing no runs, hits or walks while striking out five. The Orioles offense scored a run in the seventh on a Rickard single and two more in the eighth on a sac fly from Drew Jackson and an RBI single by T.J. Nichting.
Carroll, who came over from the Yankees in the Zack Britton trade and blew a save against the Phillies in his most recent appearance, needed just seven pitches (all strikes) to record three fly outs and pick up the save.
With the victory, the Orioles improved to 5-3-2 in Grapefruit League play, while the loss dropped the Tigers to 5-5. Next up for the Orioles is the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers on Monday. Dylan Bundy is scheduled to start on three days’ rest. He threw 37 pitches and allowed one run in two innings of work on Thursday against the Phillies.