SARASOTA, Fla. - Vladimir Guerrero wasn’t trying to hit the Twins’ bus. It only looked that way.
Guerrero launched his second spring home run, easily clearing the fence in left-center field against Twins reliever Alex Burnett to increase the Orioles’ lead to 7-1 in the fifth.
Luke Scott scalded a ball to first, but it turned into an out.
Nolan Reimold beat out a chopper to the left side. That Achilles issue is a thing of the past. He was motoring to first.
Kevin Gregg, David Riske and Mark Hendrickson have tossed a scoreless inning as we move to the bottom of the sixth.
Jake Arrieta held the Twins to one run, on a Luke Hughes homer, and didn’t walk a batter over three innings. In his previous start, he allowed one run and two hits, and walked two, in two innings.
“I’m getting more comfortable in game situations, guys in the box, the atmosphere of just being in more of a big league setting, just getting more comfortable around in the zone with all my pitches,” Arrieta said. “Breaking balls were a lot better today, a little bit more crisp. Just everything felt better, as I expected it to my second time out. I only expect it to get better as spring goes on.”
Arrieta threw 22 pitches in the first two innings before needing 20 to get through the third.
“First-pitch strikes, and I put those hitters on the defense,” he said. “Making them feel a little more uncomfortable in the box is my objective. Pound the zone with the heater, more so in a spring training setting than in the regular season. Really just wanted to establish the fastball. That’s throughout spring training. That’s going to my primary objective, to establish that pitch and work everything else off that. When you are working first-pitch strikes, the rate of swing is a lot more frequent. That was the result today. Pounded the zone, got a lot of early outs.”
Arrieta knows he’s made the team barring an unforeseen and total collapse. He can relax more than some other young starters in camp.
“I don’t think that’s something you need in your mind, especially when you’re going out there and trying to get your work in,” he said. “I’m really not concerned with that. I’m pretty confident I’m going to be on the team. I said that from Day 1. All I want to do out here is get ready for April 1, 3, 4, whatever it will be, whatever my start will be. I just want to make sure I’m prepared for that. Today was a good example of the preparation needed to be ready for that Opening Day.”
The home run by Hughes came on a 1-0 fastball.
“I don’t think you could throw it anymore center cut,” Arrieta said. “Just trying to continue to get ahead, pounding the fastball. I might have gone with something else during the year, but right now my concern is just to establish that pitch. You know, he hit it out, put a good swing on it, but you’ve just got to move on and get the next guy, and that’s what I did.”
Instant update: J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis hit back-to-back doubles in the sixth, and Adam Jones launched a two-run homer to left. The ball was absolutely crushed. Orioles 10, Twins 1.