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Bud Norris gets back on track against Red Sox

Bud Norris gets back on track against Red Sox
Orioles starting pitcher Bud Norris throws against the Boston Red Sox in the first inning. (Gail Burton / Associated Press)

It has been a rough couple of months for Orioles starter Bud Norris, so no one can fault him for savoring everything about his team's resounding, 18-7, victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

Norris took a shutout into the seventh inning before giving up a meaningless three-run home run to Red Sox third baseman Pablo Sandoval, then left to a rousing ovation from the festive crowd of 43,802.

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"It feels really good, to be honest,'' Norris said. "Just to prove to these guys that I'm here to help out and do everything I can to pitch. These guys know how I am. We're trying to find our stride and we have a good group in this clubhouse. We know it's still early, so we're trying to find our stride and take it one step at a time."

Norris had allowed just four hits and the Orioles were up, 12-0, when he started to falter in the seventh inning. The Red Sox got a couple of singles before Sandoval broke up the shutout with a big, two-out shot onto the flag court. Still, Norris said after a rocky spring training and a couple of very difficult starts, this day was just a lot of fun.

"You work so hard all offseason … you work so hard all camp to get yourself in the best shape to go out there and to have good results,'' he said. "Like I said, I've had a couple of rough ones that I wasn't very happy about, but to come back out here, to do it at home, to finish with a series win, which was really nice. Excited with that, keep building on that, keep going."

He still has some work to do after blowing up his ERA by allowing 17 earned runs over two short starts against the hot-hitting Toronto Blue Jays. He whittled it from 17.42 to 12.18 with Sunday's strong performance.

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway said that what made Norris so effective was his fastball command.

"Bud was locating his fastball terrifically today," he said. "He's got great stuff. He's capable of doing that every time out. I'm looking forward to what he'll take from this going into the next start."

Tough outing for Garcia

Rule 5 acquisition Jason Garcia took over for Norris and pitched the final 21/3 innings of the game on Sunday, but it didn't go well.

He allowed a long home run to the first batter he faced — Hanley Ramirez — and allowed Ramirez to take him deep a second time with two runners on base in the ninth.

Garcia has pitched six times and allowed runs in four of those appearances. Over his 101/3 innings, he has allowed 10 hits and seven walks and has an ERA of 6.97.

The Orioles like his arm, but Garcia is going to have to figure something out pretty soon to stay on the roster.

Around the horn

Lavarnway snapped an 0-for-12 skid with a single in the third inning. It was his first hit since his first at-bat as an Oriole. He added a second single in the fifth inning. … The Orioles hosted their first Little League Day of the season and the club announced that approximately 4,000 Little Leaguers were in attendance.

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