Orioles lose to Braves late, 6-5, as Nick Markakis goes 2-for-3 vs. old club

Lake Buena Vista, Fla. — Former Oriole Nick Markakis had a couple hits in his first game against his old team, and the Atlanta Braves rallied in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Orioles, 6-5, in a Grapefruit League game Thursday night at Champions Stadium.

Holding on to a one-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, left-hander T.J. McFarland, pitching in his third inning, allowed the tying run on a wild pitch and gave up the walk-off single to Joe Benson, the outfielder's fourth hit of the game.


McFarland now has allowed 10 earned runs in 12 1/3 innings this spring (7.30 ERA).

Left-hander Wei-Yin Chen, making his final start before the club's second game of the regular season Tuesday, allowed two runs on six hits and no walks in five innings. He struck out four batters while throwing 68 pitches, 39 for strikes.


"Mentally and physically, I'm ready for the season," Chen, who will next face the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field, said through interpreter Louis Chao. "I just want to get back out there and help the team win as soon as possible."

Chen, who finishes the spring with a 2.45 ERA in 18 1/3 innings, allowed just one hit through three innings and didn't give up a run until the fifth, when Atlanta scored on an RBI single by Andrelton Simmons and a wild pitch by Chen.

The Braves stormed back in the seventh with two runs against Ryan Webb, who is attempting to stick in the Orioles' bullpen. He permitted three hits and a walk while recording only two outs, pushing his spring ERA to 6.75. McFarland picked up the final out in the seventh to escape further damage.

The Orioles took the lead with three runs in the seventh against Chien-Ming Wang, including a pinch-hit, two-run homer by Travis Snider that just made it over the right-field wall.

Wang and Chen are the winningest Taiwanese pitchers in MLB history, and Chen said he thought it was the first time they've pitched in the same game.

"There aren't many Taiwanese pitchers or players in the major leagues, so it's pretty cool, and I'm very happy to face another Taiwanese player in the major leagues," Chen said. "Hopefully, we'll have more and more Taiwanese players in the major leagues and we'll have more chances to play each other."

Chen also had an interesting battle with his former teammate, Markakis.

The Braves' new right fielder, who left the Orioles this offseason as a free agent, went 2-for-3 Thursday after starting the Grapefruit League season 2-for-19. In his first at-bat against Chen, Markakis saw 11 pitches before hitting a flyout. He singled the next time up versus Chen and singled again in the sixth against Wesley Wright.


"It was kind of fun to face him because it was first time I faced him," Chen said. "I didn't like it when he kept fouling off pitches. It was a lesson for me, so when we face each other in the regular season, I'll know better how to deal with him."

Nolan Reimold had two more hits, including an RBI single, and is now hitting .340 this spring.

The Orioles are 11-18-2 in Grapefruit League action with two more games remaining.