Hunter solid in Orioles' 6-3 loss to Toronto

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Tommy Hunter made a solid return to the major-league mound Wednesday, but the Orioles lost 6-3 to Toronto, thanks to a four-run, ninth-inning rally by the Blue Jays.

The Orioles took a 3-2 lead into the ninth when reliever Pedro Strop, who had been good most of the spring, unraveled. He retired just one batter while allowing two hits, a walk, a wild pitch, four runs (one earned) and an error. He had allowed just one earned run in his first five innings this spring.


Brian Bocock's two-run single against Stu Pomeranz -- who replaced Strop -- put the game out of reach.

Hunter, who had been limited to minor-league games this spring while dealing with lower back soreness, lasted five innings against the Blue Jays.


He gave up two runs, including a solo homer to J.P. Arencibia and a RBI double to Yan Gomes, but otherwise escaped damage.
"Back to the big leagues," Hunter said. "I was joking around about that earlier today. It was fun to get out there. I definitely have some work to do for now. Thank God there's two weeks of spring training left."

Hunter threw 74 pitches, including 44 strikes, and was unhappy with that ratio. What can he do better?

"Maybe throwing strikes, starting off hitters with strikes," he joked. "That's probably the first goal."

Adam Jones had a run-scoring single in the first against Kyle Drabek and then launched a solo homer to lead off the sixth and break a 2-2 tie. Jones' second homer this spring came against reliever Francisco Cordero, who chose the Blue Jays over the Orioles in free agency this offseason.
Endy Chavez also had a good offensive day, reaching base three times, including two singles and a walk. He also scored a run and is batting .500 in March. Wilson Betemit added a sacrifice fly.

The Orioles are 6-9 in the spring.