Right-hander fills in for Tillman with strong effort; offense scores seven in eighth
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Short notice certainly didn't stop Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez from turning in his best outing of the spring Friday as Baltimore won, 8-0, against a split Braves squad at Ed Smith Stadium.
Gonzalez, originally slated to pitch in a Minor League game, instead took the mound against the Braves after scheduled starter Chris Tillman was scratched due to an illness. The change in plans seemed to have no effect on Gonzalez,who faced just one more than the minimum while becoming the first O's starter to complete six innings this spring.
The right-hander allowed just three hits over six scoreless innings, and quickly erased two of them -- one on a caught stealing in the second inning and another on a double play to end the fourth. He also struck out a spring-best five and did not walk a batter.
"I was pretty happy about my performance," Gonzalez said. "[Catcher Matt Wieters] was calling out curveballs first pitch, I thought that was great. Changing speeds on them -- they always have good hitting -- but it was a pitchers' duel. It was fun today."
Braves righty Gus Schlosser nearly matched Gonzalez's superb start, settling in for a solid four-inning performance after conceding a run in the opening frame. Schlosser retired the final 12 hitters he faced after allowing a leadoff double into the right-center field gap to Orioles center fielder David Lough.
Unfortunately for Schlosser, Lough quickly moved to third on an Adam Jones flyout and scored one batter later on a Chris Davis sacrifice fly to stake the O's to a 1-0 lead. Schlosser finished allowing just the one run and hit, to go along with three strikeouts and no walks.
The Orioles laid it on thick in the eighth, putting up seven runs against Braves relievers Anthony Varvaro and Ryne Harper.
Up next: The Orioles head to Port Charlotte, Fla., where they are expected to send newcomer Ubaldo Jimenez to the mound against fellow righty Alex Cobb and the Rays at 1:05 p.m. ET on Saturday. Jimenez, who last pitched in a Triple-A game on Monday, will be making his third official appearance this spring after pitching two innings in each of his first two outings with the O's. Saturday's game is one of just three remaining Grapefruit League road games for the Orioles before their March 31 season opener.