Rangy outfielder David Washington came up with one out in the bottom of the ninth and launched a two-run homer to center field to give the Orioles a 7-6 victory and transform relief pitcher Oliver Drake from losing pitcher to a winning one before a sellout crowd of 7,487.
Drake had allowed a tiebreaking run in the top of the inning when he walked Pirates third baseman Gift Ngoepe with one out and allowed a two-out double to shortstop Alen Hanson. He stood to take the loss until Orioles outfield candidate Craig Gentry singled and Washington homered for the second time in 14 spring at-bats.
The Orioles jumped out to a quick two-run lead when the first four batters reached base in the bottom of the first inning. Chris Dickerson led off with a bunt single and Joey Rickard walked before Hyun Soo Kim and Mark Trumbo followed with back-to-back RBI singles, but the Pirates didn’t stay down for long.
They scored three runs on four hits off Orioles starter Mike Wright in a second-inning rally that featured a double by center field prospect Austin Meadows and three straight two-out hits. Right fielder Eury Perez singled Meadows home, Ngoepe followed with a base hit and Wright moved both runners up with an errant pickoff throw to second.
Leadoff hitter Adam Frazier put the Pirates ahead 3-2 with a single to right that scored both runners. He also drove in their fourth run of the game with an RBI groundout in the fifth, but that two-run lead didn’t last any longer than the Orioles' did a few innings earlier.
The Orioles scored three times in the sixth on an RBI single by Johnny Giavotella and a two-run home run by Rule 5 draftee Anthony Santander.
Joseph finds his stroke: Reserve catcher Caleb Joseph, who struggled so mightily at the plate last season, reached base in each of his three plate appearances with a single to center in the second inning, a walk in the fourth and an opposite-field single in the sixth. Joseph had a slash line of .174/.216/.197 in 49 regular-season games last season. He currently is hitting .389 with a 1.087 OPS through eight spring games.
O’Day surrenders first run: Reliever Darren O’Day made his fourth one-inning relief appearance of the spring and allowed his first run, which scored on a leadoff triple by No. 9 hitter Ngoepe and Frazier’s run-scoring groundout to second base. The triple was only the second hit given up by O’Day in four innings this spring. He has struck out seven batters.
You gotta have Hart: Lefty Donnie Hart struck out two batters in a perfect fourth inning and now has pitched six times, allowing one run on two hits.
Trumbo’s multihit game: Mark Trumbo drove in the second run of the game and had a pair of singles in three at-bats. Trumbo was originally in the lineup as the designated hitter, but started at first base after Chris Davis was scratched with a case of bronchitis.