FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) — Brian Matusz became the first Baltimore starter to pitch five innings this spring and kept trying to boost his chances of earning a spot in the Orioles’ rotation.
Matusz, among several candidates for the No. 5 slot, was solid Tuesday as the Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox 8-7.
Matusz allowed one run and six hits, striking out two and walking one. The left-hander threw 73 pitches, 48 for strikes.
“That was the goal today, to be able to build the pitch count up and be able to go five innings,” Matusz said. “Be able to get through with success, and I’m happy about that.”
Matusz gave up a run in the first on a double by Shane Victorino, a single by Dustin Pedroia’s single and a sacrifice fly from Mike Napoli.
“I liked the way he came back after the first inning. He threw the ball good,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said. “His stuff got better as the outing went on.”
“He’s still one of the competitors. Nobody’s really taken a step back. We’ve got a little less than two weeks. We’ll continue to take in the looks that we have and try to make a good decision.”
Baltimore led by six runs before the Red Sox scored six times in the eighth off relievers Daniel Schlereth and Adam Russell to tie it. Danny Valencia’s solo home run in the ninth put the Orioles ahead.
Ryan Dempster started for the Red Sox, going five innings and giving up three runs on six hits and two walks.
Baltimore got all its runs off Dempster in the third when Trayvon Robinson led off with a homer. Taylor Teagarden hit a double and Jason Pridie singled, setting up Brian Roberts’ RBI single and Nate McLouth’s RBI groundout.
“They bunched some hits together … but I think for the most part he used all of his pitches. Might not have been as sharp start to finish with his strike-throwing as we’ve seen in some previous spring training starts here for him,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “But like I said, was able to make a pitch and induce a couple of groundball double plays.”
The Orioles got three runs off Daniel Bard in the seventh. Manny Machado doubled and Baltimore went on to load the bases, with Ryan Flaherty hitting a two-run single.
“The one thing that we have seen, that first hitter takes him two or three pitches to kind of get in the flow of the inning,” Farrell said. “Today he fell behind 2-and-0 prior to the double to Machado.”
Boston broke through in the eighth. Daniel Nava, Brock Holt and Mike Carp singled for a run. Drew Sutton’s single loaded the bases and Jeremy Hazelbaker’s RBI single ended Schlereth’s outing. Russell gave up consecutive singles to Mauro Gomez, Jonathan Diaz and Jackie Bradley, scoring three more runs to tie the game.
NOTES: Red Sox SS Stephen Drew is scheduled to be examined Wednesday and Thursday at the University of Pittsburgh by concussion specialist Dr. Michael Collins. Drew has not played since being hit in the helmet by a pitch on March 7. Boston OF Mitch Maier had a second MRI on his injured left wrist and was diagnosed with a severe sprain … Red Sox DH David Ortiz (heel inflammation) took 50 swings off a tee in the cage. … Roberts stole two bases. . Orioles RF Nick Markakis said his neck is feeling better, and he’s hoping to resume baseball activities by the end of the week. Markakis has a small herniated disk in his neck and hasn’t played since he was scratched from the March 3 game. … Showalter played Robinson and McLouth in LF and CF in alternate innings to prepare them to play left field in Fenway Park.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)