Brian Matusz made easy work of the Phillies early Sunday afternoon at Bright House Field, but the end result left questions about whether the Orioles left-hander will make the team’s starting rotation.
Matusz retired six of the first seven batters he faced, but yielded three runs in the third inning, the big hit a two-run double to center field by Jim Thome in the Orioles’ 3-3 tie with the Phillies.
It was the Orioles’ fifth tie of the spring, tying a spring training record.
On the afternoon, Matusz allowed eight base runners over 4 2/3 innings, yielding three runs on six hits, a walk and a hit batter. He struck out two, but battled several deep counts, throwing 83 pitches, 52 of them strikes.
“I’m definitely progressing,” Matusz said. “Through the course of the season there’s always going to be mechanical things that come off a little bit. So it’s just a battle and a grind to keep those things tight. And I’ve definitely got some things to work on this week.”
In the third, Matusz allowed singles to Freddy Galvis, Jimmy Rollins and Placido Polanco, the latter of which made the score 2-1. That set the stage for Thome’s first-pitch double over Xavier Avery’s head in center field.
The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second on Nolan Reimold’s solo homer, his second in as many days, and a RBI single by Ronny Paulino – both run-scoring hits off Halladay.
But Halladay settled in after that, retiring 11 out of 12 Orioles hitters at one point – including nine straight – before he was pulled with one out in the seventh on back-to-back hits by Scott Beerer and Paulino.
The Orioles tied the game in the seventh when non-roster invitee Steve Tolleson hit a one-out, pinch-hit single in the eighth off Phillies right-hander Jose Contreras, stole second and then scored on minor leaguer Trent Mummey’s double to right.
Jason Berken, making his first Grapefruit League appearance this spring after suffering a hamstring injury, threw a scoreless sixth inning. Troy Patton, Pedro Strop, Dana Eveland and minor leaguer Stu Pomeranz each threw a scoreless inning in relief.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun