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On rocky afternoon for Orioles pitching staff, reliever Branden Kline saves the day

The Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays traded crooked numbers all afternoon Sunday and it looked as if the second Grapefruit League game of the spring might be decided by the last team to bat.

Instead, it came down to O’s reliever Branden Kline, who dominated three Jays hitters in the top of the ninth inning to get the save in a 9-8 victory at Ed Smith Stadium.

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Kline flashed a 96 mph fastball and complimented it with a nasty slider to strike out the side to save the Orioles’ second victory of the weekend. It was a nice way to start for a young pitcher who missed nearly three minor league seasons recovering from multiple elbow operations.

“Wow, yeah,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Obviously, we've been watching his bullpens and watching his live BPs. We see he's got a great arm and electric stuff. To be able to go do that in a big league spring training game right away. … I know we have a long way to go but that's obviously a great start for him. That's got to make him feel good.”

Obviously, it did. Even though it was just an early spring training game, he wanted the game ball.

“Fortunately, we’ve been doing a lot of live BPs, so really the big mental hurdle is just having a hitter in the box,’’ Kline said. “So over the past week or week and a half, I’ve been able to throw to hitters a couple of times. … So, I’ve gotten in two live BPs this week and I was able to compete a bit on that.”

Kline said it was good to have catching prospect Martin Cervenka behind the plate, because they have worked a lot together.

“I’ve got to give a lot of credit to Marty,’’ he said. “I only had to shake Marty off once. It helped having him out there with me, because we were together in Bowie all last year. So it was enjoyable, but at the same time, there are still a lot of things I need to work on … still a lot of things I can improve on and I’m looking forward to doing that throughout the course of this camp.”

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