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Joey Rickard, Ryan Mountcastle homer in ninth in Orioles split squad's 6-6 tie with Twins

Three late homers delivered the Orioles a comeback tie with the Twins.

The Orioles rallied from a five-run deficit with three home runs in the late innings to salvage a 6-6 10-inning tie with the Minnesota Twins before 4,153 on Thursday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium.

First baseman David Washington hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning and Joey Rickard hammered a solo homer with two outs in the ninth before highly regarded infield prospect Ryan Mountcastle launched a game-tying two-run shot to left field two batters later. The teams played a scoreless 10th inning before the game was called.

Mountcastle appeared as a pinch runner in an exhibition game last year, but this was the first game in which he batted or played the field. He popped up in his only other at-bat in the game.

“It’s real exciting,” Mountcastle said. “A little nervous out there the first time, but after an inning or two you get back to it’s just baseball doing your normal thing.”

The Orioles fell well behind in the early innings when Twins shortstop Jorge Polanco hit a three-run double off Jason Garcia in the third. Polanco also added his first home run of the spring off left-hander Donnie Hart in the fifth.

The Orioles got right after Twins starter Phil Hughes, scoring the first run of the game on back-to-back doubles by Manny Machado and Chris Davis in the first. But the Twins got a run back in the second on an opposite-field triple by designated hitter Eddie Rosario and a sacrifice fly by Drew Stubbs, who finished last season with the Orioles.

That was all the Twins were going to get against a sharp Kevin Gausman, who gave up a run over two solid innings in his first start of the spring.               

Johnson hit on hand: Utility infield candidate Chris Johnson is off to a good start at the plate this spring, batting .333 in six games, but he left Thursday’s game for a pinch runner in the seventh inning when he was hit on the right thumb by a pitch. He said after the game that X-rays were negative. 

It was the second time he has been plunked this spring, which has helped boost his on-base percentage to .444.

O’Day’s debut: Darren O’Day made his first appearance of the Grapefruit League season, pitching a scoreless sixth inning in which he gave up one hit and struck out two. 

Machado heating up: Machado had only one hit in his first 10 spring at-bats, but delivered his first multihit game of the spring against the Twins. He had the first-inning double off Hughes and a single in the third. He’s 3-for-13 with a home run and three runs scored.

Flaherty throws: Ryan Flaherty threw for the first time today since experiencing some shoulder soreness and reported that everything went well. Manager Buck Showalter said Flaherty will play against the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday in Bradenton.

peter.schmuck@baltsun.com

twitter.com/SchmuckStop

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