By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
4:23 PM EDT, March 13, 2014
TAMPA -- An Orioles team that had averaged nine runs per game over its past eight Grapefruit League games was shut out for the first time this spring on Thursday afternoon, falling to the New York Yankees, 6-0, at Steinbrenner Field.
The Orioles (9-5) now have lost three straight following seven straight wins. They had just six hits in the game, including three after the third inning.
Orioles right-hander Bud Norris battled through his shortest start of spring training on Thursday afternoon, allowing three runs (two earned) and four hits through just 1 2/3 innings.
"I felt good," Norris said. "That was the number one thing. ... I didn’t feel that I was that wild, but I threw competitive pitches that were pretty close. ... I just felt like I was close to the corners, but just not quite getting them."
Norris, who hadn’t allowed a run in five previous spring inning games, threw 39 pitches in the first inning but allowed just one run. Three batters into the first inning, Carlos Beltran hit an RBI single off Norris that plated Brett Gardner, who opened the inning with a single.
Norris then issued back-to-back walks to Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano to load the bases, but escaped further damage by getting Eduardo Nunez to pop up to first base and inducing a ground out by Dean Anna.
“It’s not really pretty sometime,” Norris said. “Any pitcher will tell you that. Like I said, you’re trying to get zeroes on the board and to get away with only one run. Like I said, it wasn’t pretty but like I said, to keep a game close in the American League East, they’re going to have some bigger innings, but to put up one compared to a four-spot, is a big story. I was happy with the one, and I’ll go from there.”
The Yankees (8-5-2) went up, 2-0, on Norris on Gardner’s one-out RBI double in the second. But Norris made a costly miscue when he fielded a comebacker off the bat of Derek Jeter, looked to third to get the lead runner but threw the ball away, allowing Gardner to score.
“It’s going to happen,” Norris said. “It’s part of spring training. You’re really trying to go out there and get early outs and stuff like that. ... Little things here and there. One pitch in a certain situation can really change an inning for that matter, so you can look over it, you can kind of go over it. I felt good. I worked well. The fastball was, it was close. I didn’t feel like I was missing by a lot. [I had] some competitive pitches that didn’t go my way.”
Norris pitched well in his previous outing in which he struck out four batters and walked none in three shutout innings against the Boston Red Sox.
Kevin Gausman, who was coming off a dominating outing in his last spring appearance, allowed a run in the fifth inning when Nunez’s RBI single scored McCann, who drew a leadoff walk and moved to second base on a wild pitch.
The Yankees added two more runs in the eighth off right-hander Ryan Webb.
Henry Urrutia and Alex Gonzalez both had two hits for the Orioles in the loss.
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