By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
4:10 PM EST, March 8, 2014
SARASOTA, Fla. — Right-hander Bud Norris continued to put up zeros this spring and the Orioles’ offense touched up one of the Boston Red Sox's top pitching prospects to pick up a 7-3 win at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Norris, who is expected to begin the season in the Orioles’ rotation, threw three scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and striking out four. He hasn’t given up a run in his five spring innings.
“I felt pretty good,” Norris said. “The main thing was I wanted to work on my fastball command, get back out there for my second start.”
Norris said his back tightened up a little in the second inning, but he pitched through it and said later that it was “nothing to worry about.”
With his four strikeouts Saturday, Norris now has six, and one walk, in five innings.
“It means you're playing on the corners, you're getting ahead of hitters and you have a chance to put guys away,” Norris said. “There are situations in the American League where you're going to need that [strikeout].”
The Red Sox brought only two projected regulars — Jackie Bradley Jr. and Will Middlebrooks — and were shut down by a group of Orioles pitchers. Their initial run came on a Middlebrooks homer against Tommy Hunter. The Red Sox added two more on a homer by outfielder Bryce Brentz against Orioles lefty Eduardo Rodriguez.
The Orioles (6-2) jumped on Boston's elite pitching prospect, Henry Owens, scoring three runs in 2 1/3 innings vs. the 21-year-old lefty, who was making the first spring start of his career for the Red Sox.
Matt Wieters singled home the Orioles’ first run in the second and they scored twice in the third, with J.J. Hardy plating one run with a double. Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run homer against Alex Wilson in a four-run sixth to help cement the win.
The game drew 7,858, Ed Smith Stadium’s first sellout of the spring. The two teams also will play Saturday night in Fort Myers, Fla.
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