Young first baseman Brett Wallace knocked in seven runs and a Houston Astros lineup that included just three regulars knocked around starter Brad Bergesen and reliever Kevin Gregg in the Orioles' 14-8 loss before an announced 5,262 at Ed Smith Stadium.
Bergesen allowed three runs on four hits and two walks over four innings, barely lowering his Grapefruit League ERA to 6.94. He has given up 10 runs, 16 hits and five walks in his past three starts spanning 9 2/3 innings.
"I know that the numbers aren't good the last three outings, but it's early, it's spring training," Bergesen said. "We're competitors, so you never like having those type of numbers or giving up runs, but at the same time, you're not going to let that affect you mentally right now. It's still way too early. You can't let those start getting to you ever, and definitely not in spring. You wait for the season for that."
Gregg surrendered five runs (four earned) on three hits and a walk while retiring only one batter. In his past two outings, the closer candidate has given up eight earned runs, eight hits and a walk over 1 1/3 innings. He said he had tweaked his delivery -- leaning forward instead of back -- but now will return to what was effective earlier in the spring when he turned in four consecutive scoreless outings.
"Obviously, [the mechanical changes] were not working today or the other day, and now we are going back to the drawing board a little bit," he said.
Ryan Drese, a long shot in the fifth starter competition, didn't fare much better, as he allowed five runs on seven hits in three innings.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning on Jake Fox's long homer to left field, his team-leading fifth this spring. However, the Astros scored three times in the fourth inning against Bergesen and broke the game open with a six-run fifth.
Houston sent 11 batters to the plate in the inning and got a grand slam from Wallace, who deposited a pitch by Gregg over the wall in right field. Wallace finished 4-for-5, lining into a double play in the first inning, singling in the fourth, homering in the fifth and hitting RBI doubles in the sixth and seventh.
The Orioles managed four runs in the bottom of the ninth, which included a two-run homer by Robert Andino, doubles by Michel Hernandez and Nolan Reimold, and an RBI single by Ryan Adams. Earlier RBIs came from Fox, Felix Pie, Josh Bell and Brendan Harris. The Orioles had eight hits total and fell to 8-8-2 this spring.
Baltimore Sun reporter Dan Connolly contributed to this article.