Orioles highlights: Joey Rickard hits walk-off winner in 6-5 victory over Pirates

SARASOTA, FLA. — Joey Rickard hasn't officially won an Opening Day roster spot yet, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter joked this week that he hasn't been starting the young outfielder because the club has already seen all it needs to make a decision on the Rule 5 pick.

Rickard's sparkling spring continued Thursday, when he provided a pinch-hit single in the bottom of the ninth inning to send the Orioles to a 6-5 walk-off win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Ed Smith Stadium.


The Orioles are now 6-4-2 since starting their Grapefruit League schedule 0-10-2.

With two runners in scoring position and one out in the ninth inning, Rickard roped the game-winning hit into left field off Pirates reliever Eric O'Flaherty. Rickard is now batting .388 with seven RBIs in 49 at-bats this spring. His 19 hits lead the club.


Xavier Avery began the rally with a one-out single and Garabez Rosa followed with a double before Rickard's knock at Ed Smith Stadium.

The Orioles hit three homers in the game, including Mark Trumbo's third in his past four games.

Trumbo hit a two-run blast in the fourth inning off Pirates starter Jonathon Niese to give the Orioles a 3-1 lead.

"He's doing a good job of putting good swings on mistakes right now," Showalter said. "Those mistakes will start being less and less as we get closer to the season on both sides. You can tell the hitters are starting to hone in a little bit. This is where the pitching gets really challenged, toward the end of spring because the hitters are really getting honed in."

Trumbo is tied for the team lead in homers this spring (four) and his 12 RBIs are second on the club behind Christian Walker's 14.

Jonathan Schoop sent a rocket onto the concourse well beyond the left-field fence for a solo homer on the first pitch he saw from Niese to lead off the fifth inning. J.J. Hardy also hit a leadoff homer in the seventh, crushing a 2-2 pitch off former teammate Jorge Rondon to give the Orioles a 5-2 lead.

The Orioles allowed three runs with two outs in the eighth as Danny Ortiz hit an RBI single off Darren O'Day and former Orioles farmhand Pedro Florimon's two-run triple down the right-field line off Mychal Givens tied the score at 5.

Matt Joyce drove in two runs for the Pirates, including a solo homer off Orioles right-hander Tyler Wilson in the first. That was the only run that Wilson allowed in three innings of work. He continued to be shortened up after pitching into the fourth inning in his prior Grapefruit League outing on March 15. He also threw just two innings in a minor league intrasquad game Sunday.


After allowing a double to former Oriole Michael Morse with two outs in the first inning, Wilson retired the final seven batters he faced, six on ground-ball outs.

First-inning jitters

When Joyce hit a two-out solo homer off Wilson in the first inning, it marked the third consecutive game in which the Orioles allowed a first-inning home run.

Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen hit a solo home run off Miguel Gonzalez on Wednesday in Bradenton and Mike Wright allowed a two-run homer to Minnesota Twins first baseman Joe Mauer on Tuesday. The Orioles have allowed 30 homers this spring, second most in the Grapefruit League, in 24 games.

McFarland recovers

Coming off his worst outing of the spring, left-hander T.J. McFarland tossed two scoreless frames Thursday. He retired six of the eight batters he faced, working around a pair of singles in the fourth inning. McFarland allowed five runs (four earned) including a grand slam, over two innings in his previous outing Sunday against the Tampa Bay Rays. Going into Thursday's outing, McFarland had allowed runs in three of his four spring outings.


Number of the day

Orioles closer Zach Britton's strikeouts per nine innings in Grapefruit League play.
After striking out the side in a perfect inning of work on Friday, Britton has 11 strikeouts in seven innings in seven Grapefruit League appearances. Thursday marked the first time this spring that Britton pitched on back-to-back days. He retired all six batters he faced over those two outings, recording four strikeouts.