SARASOTA, Fla. - Minor league pitcher Jesse Beal lasted one inning tonight in his starting assignment against the Tampa Bay Rays - a team that's being picked by many "experts" to win the American League East.
Beal allowed three runs and three hits, and walked a batter, in the top of the first inning. His fastball touched 93 mph.
Beal threw 27 pitches, 15 for strikes, as the surprise replacement for Steve Johnson, who was scratched because of a strained lat.
Desmond Jennings led off with a single and stole second base. Sam Fuld grounded out, Ben Zobrist walked and Jennings scored on an Evan Longoria single.
Matt Joyce grounded to first to give Tampa Bay a 2-0 lead, and another run scored on Yunel Escobar's single into center field.
James Loney flied to center field to end the inning and Beal's night.
Left-hander Troy Patton struck out the first two batters he faced in the second. Jennings singled again, but Adam Jones threw him out at second base.
Manager Buck Showalter may end up using nine pitchers tonight to cover nine innings.
With Chris Tillman going on the disabled list and Wilson Betemit about to join him, here's my guess for the Orioles' 25-man roster on opening day:
Of course, Flaherty also can play the outfield and Pearce can play first base. And the Orioles still could swing a trade or make a waiver claim. They also would have to make room for Tillman on April 6.
If tonight's lineup is any indication, the bench for opening day could consist of McLouth, Casilla, Flaherty and Teagarden.
Just speculating here, folks, but why should everyone else have all the fun?
Update: David Price allowed one hit, walked one and struck out three over four scoreless innings. J.J. Hardy had the only hit.
Hardy doubled leading off the fifth and scored on Steve Pearce's sacrifice fly, but Longoria greeted Tim Bascom in the sixth with a home run to center field.
Rays 4, Orioles 1.
Luis Ayala tossed two scoreless innings and Daniel Schlereth turned in a scoreless fifth. Bascom retired the next three batters after Longoria's home run.
Update II: The bottom of the sixth began with back-to-back doubles by Manny Machado and Adam Jones. Jones later scored on Chris Davis' grounder.
Rays 4, Orioles 3.
Jason Gurka tossed a scoreless seventh.
Update III: Kyle Hudson drove in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth with an infield hit. Steve Pearce grounded into a double play, and we're moving to the 10th inning.
Orioles 4, Rays 4.
Update IV: Rob Delaney escaped a bases loaded jam in the top of the 10th after issuing an intentional walk to Longoria with two outs and first base open, and the Orioles failed to score in the bottom half. The game ends in a 4-4 tie.
Niuman Romero led off with a walk, but he was thrown out trying to steal.
The Orioles are now 18-9-4.