By Dan Connolly
4:54 PM EST, March 7, 2013
SARASOTA, Fla. – One day after an ugly game against Team Spain in which they dominated, the Orioles took on an American League East rival in another sloppy game.
They nearly gave it away, but in the ninth inning Ryan Flaherty hit a three-run, two-out, walk-off homer to give the Orioles an 11-10 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays.
It was the first spring homer for Flaherty, who is fighting for a reserve infield role.
The Blue Jays took the lead in the ninth by scoring two runs on a Luis Exposito error and an Adam Russell walk.
Jason Hammel, who likely will be the club’s Opening Day starter, allowed one run in 2 1/3 innings in his second Grapefruit League performance.
Hammel gave up five hits including an RBI single to Melky Cabrera in the first inning. But four of his seven outs came via strikeouts, and he said he felt things went “fairly well,” and he was especially pleased with the life on his two-seam fastball.
“I was up in the zone, gave up a few hits today on counts that I was ahead in the count and ended up getting back in. That was disappointing,” Hammel said. “Other than that, all pitches are pretty close to where they need to be. The two-seamer I am really proud of right now. That’s ahead of pace for me, I think.”
More than anything, Hammel said his surgically right knee is a non-issue.
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