By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
4:27 PM EST, March 5, 2012
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla.
Most of the Orioles’ starters remained in Sarasota for the second-half of the Orioles’ Grapefruit League opening day split-squad doubleheader Saturday. But Baltimore’s matinee lineup -- made up of mostly reserves -- opened the spring slate with a 3-1 win over the Raysat Charlotte Sports Park in front of an announced attendance of 3,720.
Orioles pitchers allowed just three hits and struck out 14 Rays batters, highlighted by right-handers Alfredo Simon and Brad Bergesen, who each threw two scoreless innings for the Orioles. Left-hander Zach Phillips fanned three consecutive batters during his two perfect relief innings, and right-hander Miguel Socolovich struck out four while walking two in two innings.
“We pitched well," Buck Showalter said. "It’s good to see. We threw a lot of strikes, attacked the strike zone. It was a good day. We caught the baseball. We played a lot of young kids and they did well.”
Shortstop Ryan Flaherty -- one of three Orioles with multiple hits -- hit a two-run triple down the right-field line in the eighth inning to give Baltimore a 3-0 lead.
Orioles designated hitter Nick Johnson worked a bases-loaded walk in the fifth-inning to put Baltimore up 1-0.
Second baseman Matt Antonelli and left fielder/first baseman Joe Mahoney also had two hits apiece.
The Rays brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth off Orioles reliever Pedro Strop, who yielded a one-out RBI double to catcher Stephen Vogt, but Strop struck out the last two hitters to faced to end the game.
Orioles top prospect Manny Machado, one of 11 players brought in from the team’s minor league camp, entered the game in the eighth inning as a substitute at shortstop, then popped out to second on the first pitch he saw in the bottom half of the inning.
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