FORT MYERS, Fla. - Jair Jurrjens had an abbreviated outing today at Hammond Stadium.
Jurrjens lasted only one inning, walking three batters and throwing 34 pitches before recording the final out. He gave up three runs and two hits - both doubles - and only 13 of his pitches were strikes.
Jurrjens, who allowed one run in two innings against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sunday, fell behind six of the eight batters he faced. His fastball topped out at 92 mph, but he mostly sat at 89-90 mph, according to the ballpark’s radar gun.
Left-hander Mike Belfiore replaced Jurrjens after the first inning.
The first batter that Jurrjens faced, Darin Mastroianni doubled to left field. Eduardo Escobar lined sharply to right field, and Jurrjens issued consecutive walks to Joe Mauer and Josh Willingham to load the bases. Justin Morneau followed with a double down the right field line to score two runs, and another one crossed when second baseman Yamaico Navarro mishandled the throw from Conor Jackson.
Ryan Doumit walked before Jurrjens retired the last two batters on a pop up and ground ball.
The Orioles have four hits in three innings, but no runs. Manny Machado has singled twice up the middle. Former Twins outfielder Lew Ford singled in the first inning, and catcher Chris Robinson reached on an infield hit in the third.
Update: Jurrjens continues to struggle with his timing and mechanics after falling into some bad habits last year while pitching with a sore right knee.
“My timing today was way off,” he said. “I wasn’t finishing the ball. It was starting a ball and then finishing a ball. It wasn’t looking like a strike and then finishing a ball.
“A mechanics issue. I think having been in bad habits for a couple of years, I’ve just got to figure out how to get the good habits back, the good timing. Get that feel back.
“By trying to find a way to pitch without feeling pain, you tweak some stuff with your mechanics. You compensate and mess up more stuff.”
Jurrjens, trying to make the club as a non-roster invitee, doesn’t feel like he took a step back today.
“Not really, because the ball was doing what I wanted it to be doing,” he said. “My release point was a little bit off, you know? It’s a long spring training, lucky for me. I’m going to keep working and try to find that release point and the ball do what it’s supposed to do.
“I’ll definitely try to take (from) what happened in this game. I’m going to try to pay more attention to the bullpen and work more deeply on the release point.
“We were trying to find a rhythm and for some reason I was going too fast. I was just trying to slow it down and I slowed it down a little bit too late.”
The Orioles trail the Twins, 6-0, in the fifth inning. Belfiore gave up two runs in the third, and Kevin Gausman allowed one in the fourth on three hits.
Gausman gave up a one-out double to Mastroianni and a two-out, RBI single to Mauer. Willingham also singled before Gausman ended the inning on his 22nd pitch and 15th strike.
Gausman’s fastball topped out at 97 mph and he hit 96 mph multiple times. He will come back out for the bottom of the fifth.
Update II: Gausman retired all three batters he faced in the fifth, striking out Chris Parmelee and Trevor Plouffe on 96 mph fastballs. Not a bad outing for the kid when you consider the major league hitters in the Twins’ lineup.
Zach Clark (UMBC) replaced Gausman in the sixth. He walked the leadoff hitter and gave up a cheap double to Clete Thomas, the ball taking a high hop over first baseman Travis Ishikawa’s head and rolling down the right-field line. Escobar’s sacrifice fly increased Minnesota’s lead to 7-0.
Update III: Clark retired the side in order in the seventh and Adam Russell tossed a scoreless eighth, but the Orioles are down 7-0 and may not go undefeated in 2013.
Steve Pearce walked in his first plate appearance after coming off the bench. The man is unstoppable.