SARASOTA – The rebuilding Orioles, who aren’t expected to win many of their scheduled 195 games over the next 219 days, have notched one early, beating the Twins 7-2 in the Spring Training opener at Ed Smith Stadium.
In what’s been described by many in Sarasota as an “energized” camp, with many new faces, new mindsets, and a lot of hope, the highlights from today’s win will only add to that positive vibe, with top prospect Yusniel Diaz, young catcher Chance Sisco, and the exciting Cedric Mullins all performing well.
Sisco scored the Orioles’ first runs of the spring campaign in the bottom of the first with runners on first and third, and one out. After working the count in his favor 2-0 against right-hander Chase De Jong, he loaded up and drilled a 90mph fastball on the inside part of the plate over the right field fence. The ‘Earl Weaver Special’ hyped the 6,328 fans, setting the tone for things to come.
In the bottom of the third, with the Orioles ahead 3-1, Renato Nunez padded the lead with a sac fly that scored Mullins. Mullins lead-off the inning with a sharp double to left field, before advancing to third on Joey Rickard’s ground out. Sisco continued his strong game drawing a walk, before Diaz launched into a hanging curve ball served up by Gabriel Moya, depositing it over the left center field fence.
Mullins would go 2-for-2 with a double, a walk, and a stolen base, while Anthony Santander, Rio Ruiz, Jack Reinheimer, and Drew Jackson all collected hits also.
Defensively, Rule 5 pick Drew Jackson, who will vying for one of the backup infielder spots on the roster, had a mixed day at shortstop. He made an error however turned a pair of nice double plays. Joey Rickard, who is also vying for a roster spot, hosed Jake Cave at third base with a bullet from right field in the third inning.
On the mound, seven Orioles pitchers were used with Mike Wright leading the way in relief tossing two scoreless innings. Yefry Ramirez had earlier made the start and worked through two innings, facing 10 batters. He struggled with command at times, walking Lucas Duda with two out in the first and LaMonte Wade to lead-off the second. Wade would ultimately score on Tomas Telis’ groundout – the only earned run tagged to Orioles pitching all day. 22-year-old Zach Pop, who arrived in Baltimore alongside Diaz and three others as part of the Manny Machado trade last year, looked good in relief, closing out the game with a pair of groundouts and a strikeout in the ninth.
The Orioles will look for another strong showing tomorrow against the Blue Jays at Ed Smith Stadium. David Hess gets the nod, taking on Toronto righty Sean Reid-Foley.