DUNEDIN, Fla. -- As the competition for the Orioles' fifth rotation spot begins to heat up, right-hander Jake Arrieta made his case Saturday afternoon, throwing 4 2/3 shutout innings in a 3-1 win over the Toronto Blue Jays at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium.
Arrieta, last year's Opening Day starter, said his ability to mix his pitches Saturday was the best "since I can remember."
"Today was the best sequence day I've had from start to finish in a long time, not just the spring, but since I can remember," Arrieta said. "The way I mixed my pitches, from my slider, my curveball and mixing those in around good located fastballs, speaking on the topic of sequences, it was very good."
Center fielder Lew Ford hit doubles in his first two at-bats of the afternoon. In his first at-bat in the first inning, he doubled to left off Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ, moved to third on a wild pitch and then scored on Nolan Reimold's RBI ground-out.
The Orioles went up 2-0 in the second inning on back-to-back doubles by Taylor Teagarden and Danny Valencia.
Despite running up a high pitch count – he had seven three-ball counts – Arrieta recorded his second straight scoreless outing. He issued back-to-back two-out walks in the fourth before getting a line-out double-play ball to second baseman Yamaico Navarro to end the inning.
Arrieta left the game with two on and two outs in the fifth, but reliever Daniel Schlereth induced an inning-ending flyout to right from Macier Izturis to escape the jam.
The Blue Jays plated their only run in the sixth off Schlereth as Jose Bautista scored on a Mark DeRosa sac fly.
The Orioles scored an insurance run in the ninth when Trayvon Robinson, who led off the inning with a double, scored two batters later on a sac fly.
Relievers Adam Russell (1 innings) and Troy Patton (1 2/3 innings) both had scoreless outings and Daniel McCutchen – testing his new low three-quarters delivery for the first time in a Grapefruit League game – needed just one out in the ninth to close the game out a grounder to third.