If there was one big question hanging over the Orioles lineup through the first 2 ½ weeks of the new season, it was when the club’s offensive production would begin to even out after being dominated early on by the home plate heroics of Chris Davis and Adam Jones.
The team had gotten very little from the designated hitter slot and looked soft at the bottom of the order after the injury that sidelined Brian Roberts during the season-opening series, but Thursday night’s victory over the Tampa Bay Rays literally featured a significant contribution from every slot in the batting order.
Every hitter in the starting lineup got at least one hit and every starter except avis scored a run in the unlikely 10-run onslaught against 2012 Cy Young Award winner David Price and the Rays bullpen. Most notably, DH Steve Pearce ended a season-opening 0-for-15 drought with a huge two-run home run off reliever Jake McGee that gave the Orioles their first lead of the game.
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Left fielder Nolan Reimold has also struggled early at the plate, but he gave the O’s a big lift with his second homer of the year – a two-run shot off Price that capped a three-run second inning after the Rays had jumped out to an early 3-0 lead.
“Those were huge ABs,’’ said Matt Wieters, who topped it all off with game-winning grand slam in the 10th. “Early in the game they kept us in it. When we give them a few runs early, you know it’s going to be tough and we’re just going to have to fight back on Price and get what we can. And then Pearce put that swing that put us on top finally.”
That apparently took the pressure off, because Pearce came right back in his next at-bat and
lined a base hit to left center field to join four other Orioles with multi-hit performances in the game.
"Stevie, it's been tough on him because he had a great spring,’’ manager Buck Showalter said. “You don't want to see anybody go through negative thoughts. I talked a little bit with Nolan today and a couple other guys, just trying to keep that positive energy. When you all ask me if somebody's pressing or if there's pressure on them, of course there is. It's just the nature of the beast.”