BRADENTON, Fla. – No Orioles starter had completed even three innings. Jake Arrieta did that, and made it through the fourth.
By going four, Arrieta made his case for the fifth—the fifth starter’s job, that is.
Arrieta allowed two hits and struck out five in the Orioles’ 4-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Monday before 5,431 at McKechnie Field.
“I feel like I could go six or seven innings right now,” Arrieta said.
A year ago, Arrieta was the Opening Day starter, but after his collapse, he ended up in Norfolk.
“Jake was OK,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He had only four first-pitch strikes. That’s something he’s going to have to get better at. That’s why he had some deep counts he shouldn’t have had, but statistically, the results were there. He’s got to get some counts in his favor.
Arrieta was pleased with how his afternoon went.
“I liked the outing,” Arrieta said. “Today was a good day. I was able to work my way back into some counts that I got behind in and get some big outs.”
Arrieta gave up a double to Neil Walker in the first, and a single to Starling Marte in the third.
“Outside of that, commanded the ball really well and kept them off balance,” Arrieta said.
“I just think today's one step in the right direction.”
Arrieta threw 60 pitches, 34 for strikes.
“I think a lot of that might have to do with wanting to throw breaking balls early in counts. I just missed with some pitches and the umpire came up to me after an inning and said he missed a couple and he owed me one,” Arrieta said.
“I think when I did get behind some guys I was able to come right back at them and attack and even the count and get some big outs.”
Luis Ayala threw a scoreless inning in the fifth, his first official spring training appearance.
Zach Britton, who threw two innings, allowed a run in the seventh. Showalter wants to stretch him out, and he’ll start Friday against Boston.
Daniel Schlereth gave up a long home run to Brad Hawpe in the eighth, and Adam Russell allowed two runs on three hits in the ninth.
The Orioles fall to 10-4-1.
Lew Ford had two hits, including a long home run in the second. Ford is now 11-for-20. L.J. Hoes had two hits as well. So did Conor Jackson and Danny Valencia. The Orioles had eight hits in 3 1/3 innings off Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke, but scored only twice off him.
“We should have scored a lot more runs. We left some people out there in situations we shouldn't have," Showalter said.
NOTES: The results of Nick Markakis’ MRI on his neck will probably not be known until Tuesday.
- The Orioles will play an intrasquad game on Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. Jason Hammel, Steve Johnson, Mike Wright, Jair Jurrjens, Eduardo Rodriguez, Troy Patton and Daniel Schlereth are scheduled to pitch. Wilson Betemit, Nolan Reimold and Taylor Teagarden will get some at-bats.
-The Orioles play Minnesota on Wednesday night at Fort Myers at 7:05 p.m. Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter and Patton are scheduled to pitch against Kevin Correia.
-Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will pitch against Tampa Bay on Thursday.
-Wei-Yin Chen’s next outing will come at Twin Lakes Park because Showalter wants to keep him away from American League East opponents.