A winless swoon that spanned all of spring training came to an end for the Orioles with Saturday's 8-1 win over the Minnesota Twins, but the victory was pyrrhic as catcher Matt Wieters left the game after the first inning with elbow soreness.
The first inning also featured most of the scoring, with starter Ubaldo Jimenez staking Minnesota to a 1-0 lead after the Twins strung together three one-out hits. But Jimenez corrected himself for the final two outs of the inning, then allowed just a third-inning base hit to designated hitter Byung Ho Park before departing with one out in the fourth.
"Right after the first inning, I was able to get in a good rhythm and command the fastball and throw over the breaking ball for strikes," Jimenez said. "I haven't been throwing [the slider and splitter] in the first two games, and they were good. I was able to incorporate them into the arsenal today, so it was good."
Jimenez left with a lead because, for the first time in their limited spring training appearances together, the top of the Orioles lineup showed some of its potential.
Leadoff hitter Nolan Reimold struck out, but then third baseman Manny Machado roped a double to left field, Adam Jones was hit by a pitch and Chris Davis singled to load the bases. Machado scored on a wild pitch by Twins starter Trevor May, then right fielder Mark Trumbo drove in the other two runs with a single to left field.
The Orioles extended the lead against May with a run-scoring double from Machado in the second. Catcher Audry Perez, who replaced Wieters at catcher after he left with the elbow soreness, made it 6-1 with a two-run homer in the sixth. Infielder Steve Tolleson matched that feat an inning later with a two-run home run into the left-field patio.
Behind Jimenez, who struck out two and walked one, the Orioles got scoreless relief stints from Chaz Roe (1 2/3 innings, one hit), closer Zach Britton (one inning, one walk) and reliever Darren O'Day, who loaded the bases on two hits and a walk before coaxing a flyout to the left-field fence by designated hitter Mitch Garver to end the seventh. Todd Redmond pitched a perfect eighth, and Chris Lee worked around a two-out single in the ninth to wrap the game up.
Wieters caught the top of the first inning, which featured one throw down to second base, but outfielder Henry Urrutia pinch-hit for him in the bottom of the inning.
Manny has some fun
In his three at-bats Saturday, Machado looked every bit the All-Star he was in 2015. His two doubles, the latter of which was a hard ground ball down the left-field line, were strong pieces of contact. Machado is now 6-for-20 with three extra-base hits in seven spring training games.