While all eyes this spring have been on the Orioles’ pitching competition, the offense hasn’t exactly flourished in March.
Heading into Thursday, the Orioles had scored more than four runs just once in their last eight games. They blew that wide open Thursday, using 14 hits and a spring-best 11 runs to hammer the Minnesota Twins, 11-1.
Wilson Betemit, Chris Davis and Trent Mummey each homered and outfield prospect Xavier Avery had two doubles, a single, one RBI and two runs scored.
“It felt good, obviously, three knocks, great day. And I played good defense,” said the 22-year-old Avery, who played all last season at Double-A Bowie. “It gives me a lot of confidence to the point where I feel I can play up here every day in the big leagues. It’s great getting confidence from being up here.”
The offensive output was plenty for Orioles’ lefty Wei-Yin Chen, who allowed four hits and one run, walking none and striking out one in five innings pitched. The 26-year-old Taiwan native threw his best outing of the spring, tossing 43 of his 72 pitches for strikes and keeping the Twins lineup – which featured four regulars -- off balance most of the game.
“Good, I thought he threw the ball well,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It happens this time of year, these lineups get a little more formidable.”
Chen had just one rough inning – the first – when he allowed doubles to leadoff hitter Ben Revere and, two batters later, Joe Mauer. Both balls looked like they might be caught, but left fielder Nolan Reimold couldn’t reach either.
After that, Chen cruised. He retired 13 of his final 15 batters. The Orioles improved to 7-8-4 this spring.