BRADENTON, Fla. - Jake Arrieta was pretty much cruising along until Alex Presley stepped to the plate with one out in the third inning. Presley homered to right-center field, giving the Pirates a 1-0 lead at McKechnie Field.
Arrieta walked the next batter, Nate McLouth, before getting a force at second base and a fly ball to left.
Arrieta has allowed one run and three hits, walked one and struck out three in three innings. He’s thrown 43 pitches, 30 for strikes. He threw 12 of his 14 pitches for strikes in the second inning.
Arrieta’s fastball topped out at 97 mph. He’s hit 96 mph a few times, but has mostly been 94-95 mph.
The Orioles scored four runs in the fourth inning to take a 4-1 lead. Catcher Ronny Paulino hit a tape-measure three-run blast off left-hander Erik Bedard, his first homer of the spring, and right fielder Jai Miller followed with his second homer.
The rally started with a one-out walk to Nick Johnson and a single by Wilson Betemit.
Miller struck out in the third inning, the 20th time he fanned in 41 spring at-bats, before going deep in the fourth.
Update: Garrett Jones hit a long two-run homer off Arrieta in the bottom of the fourth after Casey McGehee walked. Rod Barajas followed with a double and Clint Barmes singled to put runners on the corners with no outs.
Update II: The Pirates took a 5-4 lead in the fourth on a bizarre sequence. Bedard laid down a sacrifice bunt, and Barajas broke late for home and scored ahead of the throw. Paulino fired to third in an attempt to cut down Barmes, and the ball ended up in left field. Barmes scored to give Pittsburgh a 5-4 lead.
Update III: A promising start deteriorated for Jake Arrieta today. He’s charged with six runs and eight hits in five innings, with two walks and five strikeouts. I’ve got him with 82 pitches, 55 strikes.
Kevin Gregg replaced him in the sixth and issued a one-out walk. The runner got to third base with two outs and was stranded.
Miller drove in his second run with an RBI single in the sixth. Pirates 6, Orioles 5.
And now it’s pouring. Heavy, heavy rains here. The tarp will be on the field shortly.
In minor league news, the Orioles have released pitchers Josh Banks (Severna Park) and Raul Rivero, and outfielder Cory Aldridge.
They signed Banks to a minor league deal during camp - a big fuss was made over his agent, Gary Sheffield - and sent him to Twin Lakes Park. We never saw him at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. Rivero went 4-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 40 relief appearances for Double-A Bowie last season.
The Orioles’ travel roster today includes catcher Allan de San Miguel, who played at Double-A New Britain and in Australia last year.