By Dan Connolly
The Baltimore Sun
4:21 PM EDT, March 14, 2014
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Wei-Yin Chen became the first Oriole to go four innings this spring and Henry Urrutia’s first homer helped contribute to a 2-2 tie with the Minnesota Twins.
The Orioles took a 2-1 lead into the ninth, but reliever Troy Patton gave up a solo homer to former Orioles’ farmhand Brandon Waring. Because the Twins also had a split squad against Tampa in Port Charlotte on Friday, they didn’t have enough pitching to extend the game and the sides agreed to the tie.
Chen pitched well, allowing three hits, one walk and one run while striking out three and throwing 60 pitches in four innings. He’s now allowed three runs in nine innings this spring.
“Before the game, the goal for me was around 60 pitches, so I was pretty happy to get through four innings within the pitch limit,” Chen said through interpreter Louis Chao. “I think everything is on pace according to the plan -- only maybe some of my off-speed offerings I need to work on for a little bit. But everything else is in place for getting ready for the opening series.”
The only trouble he ran into came in the second when he issued a two-out walk to Chris Parmelee. He then gave up consecutive singles, including a RBI hit to Eduardo Escobar, before getting out of the jam.
“Except for the walk I issued in the second inning, I was overall pretty pleased with my start,” said Chen. “But I didn't have good command on that at-bat. I was upset about that. But except for that, I was pretty pleased.”
Chen is likely slotted in the third spot in the rotation – probably behind Chris Tillman and Ubaldo Jimenez -- meaning Chen would pitch in the opening series of the season against the Boston Red Sox. But the lefty said he hasn’t been told anything specifically.
“I don’t know when I am going to start, but I’m just going to get ready for the opening series,” he said. “Whenever Buck tells me which game to start, I’ll just be ready for that game.”
The Orioles (9-5-1) took their first lead in the second inning on a bases-loaded sacrifice fly by Quintin Berry. They added the go-ahead run in the fifth, when Urrutia hit an opposite filed solo shot against Minnesota’s Brian Duensing.
Tommy Hunter (one inning) and T.J. McFarland (three innings) turned in scoreless outings before Patton allowed the game-tying blast.
The Orioles had two players originally in the starting lineup scratched on Friday. Outfielder David Lough didn’t play due to stiff neck and Alexi Casilla was sidelined with a hyper-extended left knee. Both were sent back to Sarasota and Lough had a 3 p.m. doctor’s appointment. The club wanted to rule out a potential concussion involving Lough.
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