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Gonzalez roughed up in Orioles loss

SARASOTA, Fla. - Seven days before, Miguel Gonzalez followed Chris Tillman in his first spring training appearance. He expected to do the same in his second.

But, on Sunday, Gonzalez started instead because after Saturday night's game, manager Buck Showalter announced that Tillman's start would be delayed with soreness in his abdomen.

Last week, Gonzalez threw two scoreless innings. He started Sunday's game with a zero in the first, then came undone in the second, allowing four runs after Nate McLouth couldn't handle a fly ball in the wind.

Those four runs led to the Baltimore Orioles' 5-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates before 6,410 at Ed Smith Stadium.

The Orioles are now 10-3-1.

McLouth's error in left was forgiven by Showalter.

"I don't think anybody that was here today would have caught the ball that Nate tried to catch," Showalter said.

After McLouth's error, Gonzalez allowed four hits. He admitted he was shaken.

'[Matt] Wieters tried to do his best to calm me down. The wind was bad today, so I thought McLouth had that ball, but it's not easy when the wind is not blowing your way," Gonzalez said.

Ryan Flaherty, who had the two-run home run that accounted for the Orioles' runs, noticed the winds, too.

"I'm not going to lie, I was a little bit nervous out there in the first inning. The first ball of the game, the guy hit it to me and it blew into the bullpen. And you saw what happened to McLouth's ball. It's tough - the wind, the sun, the high sky. Like Buck says, if you can catch fly balls here, you can catch them anywhere," Flaherty said.

As for Tillman, he said he could have pitched during the season. He expects to pitch shortly.

"It's just a precautionary thing in my side, it kind of flared up the other day. I think just to be safe, I just want to take it easy for now. Nothing big, but I'm not going to downplay it either. Nothing I'm really worried about," Tillman said.

MARKAKIS MRI: Nick Markakis isn't terribly worked about the MRI scheduled for Monday on his neck. Markakis was scratched from last Sunday's game with neck spasms.

"I think it's probably more of a precaution thing to see what's going on in there and identify exactly what it is that's bothering me," Markakis said.

On Wednesday, Markakis said he was feeling better and Showalter targeted Sunday for his return, but before Saturday night's game, the manager revealed the plans for the MRI.

"That day I was feeling good. I woke up the next morning pretty locked up or tight or whatever you want to call it. But I'm better today than I was yesterday, so it's going in the right direction." Markakis said.

SHOWALTER WATCHES WBC: Showalter is closely watching the World Baseball Classic, and he was concerned when he saw the brawl between Canada and Mexico because it involved minor league catcher Chris Robinson.

"Of course. He is a guy on our depth chart with our catching The first time I saw it I wasn't paying attention to what was going on, I was looking for Robinson. I'm wondering how many of those Canadian guys, I am sure they've all been exposed to hockey. Doesn't bode well if you are trying to keep one of your guys healthy. Not a whole lot of wolf calling going on there. It's not good for baseball," Showalter said.

COMING UP: For the third time in four days, the Orioles will play the Pirates on Monday.

Zach Britton will start in Bradenton. Jake Arrieta, Luis Ayala and Adam Russell are scheduled to pitch for Baltimore. Pittsburgh's scheduled pitchers are Jeff Locke, Phil Irwin, Duke Welker, Erik Cordier and Hunter Strickland.

ODDS AND ENDS: Taylor Teagarden returned after missing a week with a back injury. ...Rule 5 draft pick T.J. McFarland threw two scoreless innings. He had been scored on in his first four outings this spring.

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