The most important development for the Orioles today was young starter Brian Matusz making his 2011 big league debut and pitching 5 2/3 solid innings, allowing one run on four hits and no walks while striking out three.
"It's a work in progress. A good start for him statistically," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "We kind of mapped it out. He thought this would be a good spot for him to start in, and hopefully it will carry on and he will continue to give us a chance to win. I think his raw stuff will get better. [I] hope so. It's his first game out of spring training."
The Orioles expected that Matusz would be a little rusty and he was though his stuff did get better as the game moved on. Matusz's velocity was mostly between 86 and 89 miles per hour, but that did improve through the course of the game. He also used his breaking ball well.
"I knew my velocity wasn't high from the get go, but I was able to slow myself down and the velocity went up as the game went on," Matusz said. "I feel strong. It's just a matter of being able to not get out of control out there on the mound. For me, I'm a feel pitcher. I make adjustments based on feel and that's what I was able to do today."
Although much of the attention was on Matusz, the player of the game for the Orioles was center fielder Adam Jones. He had three hits, including his eighth-inning solo homer off Jamey Wright that broke the 1-1 deadlock. Jones' seventh home run was the only one Wright has surrendered in 25 2/3 innings this season. Jones also made one of the season's best defensive plays with a leaping basket catch to rob Miguel Olivo of an extra-base hit in the fourth.
Against his former team this season, Jones went 13-for-22 (.590) with one walk, two doubles, a triple, a homer and six RBIS.
"Jonesy was a difference maker," said Showalter. "[He] put on an all-around show today. He's having a special year."
In other news, Orioles first baseman Derrek Lee was expected to start a rehab assignment tomorrow night in Double-A Bowie. However, Showalter learned after the game that Lee's grandfather had passed away. That will likely delay the start of his rehab assignment for a couple of days.
In his first start this season for Triple-A Norfolk, Chris Tillman allowed three unearned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out two over five innings against Pawtucket. He also threw 95 pitches. Pawtucket got the three runs off him on former Oriole Darnell McDonald's three-run homer. However, a Blake Davis error in the inning led to those runs being unearned.
Pawtucket's starter was none other than Kevin Millwood. He had a rough night as he allowed four earned runs on five hits and two walks over 2 2/3 innings. I can't imagine that will help his chances of ultimately joining Boston's rotation.