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Orioles: Norris shines against Boston

SARASOTA, Fla. - Bud Norris wants to be in the Baltimore Orioles' rotation. The Orioles plan for him to be there.

On Saturday, Norris pitched amid lots of speculation that the team might be signing free agent pitcher Ervin Santana.

There was talk about Santana, none of it confirmed, all day long, but Norris ignored it and pitched well.

He threw three scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking out four in Baltimore's 7-3 win over the Boston Red Sox before 7,858 at Ed Smith Stadium.

Norris has five shutout innings in two starts.

"I felt pretty good. The main thing was I wanted to work on my fastball command, get back out there for my second start. Back got a little tight there in the second inning, but nothing to worry about. I felt good and I worked fast," Norris said.

Manager Buck Showalter said he was pleased with how Norris looked.

"I thought the changeup with Bud was good today. That was good to see. That could really help him," Showalter said. "This is a guy, if we hadn't held him out, would pitch 200 innings last year. He's a pretty good commodity. We like him."

The Orioles had 13 hits. Matt Wieters had two, and Alex Gonzalez had a two-run home run.

Showalter is impressed with how his team is playing.

"I think everybody's crisp. I'm happy with it," Showalter said.

Kevin Gausman allowed one hit and struck out three in three shutout innings as the Orioles beat the Red Sox 13-2 at Fort Myers on Saturday night in the second half of the split squad.

Orioles pitching held Boston, which committed six errors, to three hits.

Evan Meek struck out three in two scoreless innings. Mike Wright allowed a hit, walked three and struck out one in two innings. Ryan Webb pitched a perfect eighth. Troy Patton allowed two runs in the ninth.

The Orioles scored two runs in the fourth, two in the sixth and eight in the seventh and another in the ninth.

Rule 5 draft choice Michael Almanzar had three RBIs, Nolan Reimold, Steve Clevenger, Michael Ohlman and Mike Yastrzemski each drove in two.

LONG TRIP: Showalter was happy he and about 30 others from the team could pay their respects to Monica Barlow, the team's public relations director, who died of cancer on Feb. 28 at 36.

"It went as well as could be expected last night. I'm glad we went. I'm really proud of the players. It was tough for everybody," Showalter said.

Adam Jones was one of the players who took a flight from Sarasota to Virginia.

The flight left around 4:30 p.m. and returned around 10:45 p.m.

"This is my team. She was our head PR lady. There's no way in hell I'd miss this. She taught me many, many things, how to carry myself as a professional athlete, as a man, and how to handle myself in this business," Jones said.

INJURY UPDATE: Pitcher Miguel Gonzalez was fine, a day after being hit by a line drive in his left shin.

"That's probably been the hardest ball hit back at me," Gonzalez said. "Hopefully it doesn't happen to me again. It was scary."

Showalter said Gonzalez would take his normal turn.

Alexi Casilla, whose stubborn strained right hamstring has kept him out of all spring games, will sit out this weekend. He hopes to play on Monday at Pittsburgh.

WHO ARE THESE GUYS?: Showalter said it doesn't matter to him that the Red Sox sent a group of second-liners to play here. He did the same thing for the second half of the split-squad game on Saturday night.

"I'm trying to get a club ready for the season. I want to give everybody an opportunity. We've had so many people in the past that we played, and nobody knew who they were, and all of a sudden they impacted our team," Showalter said.

"I could care less who they bring over here to play today."

COMING UP: The Orioles host the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday. Wei-Yin Chen and Steve Johnson are scheduled for Baltimore. Edinson Volquez, Brandon Compton and Jake Brigham are listed tor Pittsburgh.

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