Tyler Wilson continues to trend upward in otherwise sloppy 11-9 loss to Red Sox

SARASOTA, FLA. — One of the Orioles' ugliest Grapefruit League games of the season might have overshadowed right-hander Tyler Wilson's continuing late spring-training surge for an Opening Day roster spot.

The Orioles allowed nine runs in the fifth inning in a 11-9 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Ed Smith Stadium on Monday. The game, in which the Red Sox committed three early errors, resembled the opening games of spring more than the final week of Grapefruit League play.


Still, Wilson logged his third straight solid outing, allowing just one run over four quick innings for his longest appearance this spring. The lone run against him came on center fielder Steve Selsky's home run in the third.

"He's come on," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Wilson. "Really, the last three or four outings, he's been solid. He presented himself well again today. … [They had] a pretty good lineup today."


Wilson, initially among five candidates competing for the rotation spot opened by Chris Tillman's injury, now seems to be a front-runner for a long-relief spot come Opening Day.

"I can't keep up with where they see me and what they want me to do, and I mean that in a good way," Wilson said. "I don't mean any disrespect by that. It's just out of my hands. I started spring starting and then threw some in relief, but that's the way the last couple of seasons have gone, as well. So I'm, in a sense, grateful for that experience to start a few games and then come in in relief. I understand that's going to be my role for the team, very undefined, and I'm OK with that."

Over his last three outings, Wilson has allowed just two runs over nine innings, posting a 2.00 ERA. He lowered his Grapefruit League ERA from 8.38 to 5.30.

"I think that the last couple outings, I've just kind of found my rhythm a little bit more, found my timing and delivery and just executed pitches more consistently, and that's really the name of the game, right?" Wilson said. "It took me a little bit longer this year to find that timing and find the tempo with every pitch. … The last couple outings, I've felt good. I've felt strong. I felt like I commanded the ball pretty well and I gave the guys a change to play behind me."

Right-hander Logan Verrett, who is also competing for a long-relief bullpen spot, was the biggest victim of Boston's nine-run fifth as he allowed five of his seven batters reach base, including a leadoff home run by Sandy Leon to open the inning.

Mitch Moreland's two-run single-chased Verrett from the game, and he was charged with two more runs after minor leaguer Brian Moran yielded a grand slam to Leon later in the inning.

"He elevated some balls," Showalter said of Verrett. "Command was a challenge for him. A couple different conditions. When the game started the wind was blowing in and then it changed and fly balls were flying out of there. The grand slam was a pop-up to straightaway left field."

The Red Sox sent 13 batters to the plate against three Orioles pitchers in the top of the fifth.

While Wilson is surging, Verrett's spring is trending downward. He has allowed nine earned runs over his last five Grapefruit League outings spanning 8 1/3 innings. His spring ERA is 7.30.

"... We're looking for people we can trust, that you know what you're going to get from on a given day," Showalter said.

Designated hitter Mark Trumbo had his best game of the spring with three hits, including two doubles. It was Trumbo's first multi-hit Grapefruit League game.

Mancini continues to mash: The Orioles' experiment trying Trey Mancini in right field is still a work in progress, but there's no question Mancini has shown his potential with the bat this spring.


Mancini drove in two runs in a three-hit game that included a pair of doubles Monday. His two-run double capped a four-run fourth inning, and he added a ground-rule double over the center-field fence in the sixth inning.

Both doubles came off former Orioles farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez, who allowed six runs – four earned – over six innings.

Mancini leads the Orioles with 10 extra-base hits (seven doubles and three homers) and is hitting .357 this spring.

Mullins crashing the party: Despite not being on the big league camp roster, outfielder Cedric Mullins played in his 14th Grapefruit League game and hit his first home run in a big league game with a two-run shot off Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel in the eighth inning.

Mullins, who played last season at low-A Delmarva, has held his own against major league pitching. He also tripled against the Red Sox last month in Fort Myers and hit a home run in a B game against the Pirates this spring.

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