SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Brian Matusz had a forgettable 2011. His 2012 started shaky, too.
Matusz allowed three runs in two innings in his spring debut, and a split-squad of Baltimore Orioles lost 10-3 to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday night.
The 25-year-old left-hander was 1-9 with a 10.69 ERA last season. He lost his last nine decisions, and his ERA was the highest-ever for a pitcher making at least 10 starts.
Matusz yielded six hits, but allowed just one very hard-hit ball — an RBI double by Josh Harrison in the first. He struck out three and walked none.
“The Pirates executed really well and took advantage of the mistakes I made and put the ball in play,” Matusz said. “But, overall I felt like I attacked the zone really well and stuck to my game plan.”
Matusz did strike out three batters — all looking,
“It was nice to get those strikeouts, being able to locate the fastball and paint it on the outside corner right where I wanted it.”
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter knows about the offseason work Matusz has done with former Orioles outfielder Brady Anderson, who’s now a team executive. Anderson threw out the first pitch for the team’s home opener. Right after that, Matusz’s evening went downhill.
“He’s given himself a chance to be good,” Showalter said.
Matt Hague hit a two-run homer in the third inning and finished with three RBIs for the Pirates, who had 18 hits. Hague, Alex Presley and Starling Marte each had three hits.
It was the first win for Pittsburgh in three games. Pirates manager Clint Hurdle watched his team manufacture runs with aggressive baserunning and four infield hits. Fourteen of their hits were singles.
“Speed has got a place for us. We’ve got to find different ways to score,” Hurdle said.
“Our guys know the importance of getting down the line. You put a ball in play — and good things will happen.”
Kevin Gregg allowed Hague’s home run, and Matt Lindstrom gave up three runs — two earned in his first outing for Baltimore since being acquired last month from Colorado.
“It’s not really the impression you’d like to leave on your new team,” Lindstrom said.
Pittsburgh starter Jo-Jo Reyes gave up an unearned run and three hits in 1 2/3 innings.
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)