SARASOTA, Fla. - Matt Wieters hit a three-run homer off Tampa Bay’s Juan Sandoval in the bottom of the fifth inning to tie the game 3-3.
Nolan Reimold singled and Nate McLouth drew his second walk before Wieters launched a ball over the center field fence.
Jim Johnson and Darren O’Day each tossed a scoreless inning. Johnson allowed a leadoff single and O’Day gave up a one-out double. No harm done.
Dylan Bundy finally entered the game in the top of the seventh and retired the side in order on two fly balls and a grounder to short. His fastball topped out at 97 mph, a vast improvement over his outing in Fort Myers. He was pretty much in the 93-97 range.
Kevin Gausman was happy with his change-up and slider today, but his fastball location was an issue.
“I felt good,” he said after being charged with two runs in 2 2/3 innings. “I was happy with my secondary stuff. My command of my fastball wasn’t what it’s been this spring as of late, so I’m a little upset about that, but overall I think I kept the team in the game, so that’s what you try and do.
“My secondary stuff was probably better today than it was last time. Actually, it was good last time, but the biggest thing was my fastball command. Last time, I felt like I could throw the ball where I wanted to, and today I was kind of sporadic. I didn’t have that pinpoint that I usually have, what I try to have every day.”
Gausman didn’t blame a case of the jitters for the back-to-back walks to begin the game.
“I think I was more nervous the other times than today,” he said. “I think part of it was that I got to start and got to go through my routine and I was little bit more comfortable. I don’t think it was nerves. That first batter, I threw some great pitches. All those pitches are low, and that’s what you try to stay at, the bottom half of the zone. I definitely wasn’t as nervous as I was before.”
His fastball didn’t have as much zip, but he wasn’t concerned.
“I don’t really know,” he said. “Maybe part of it was getting into my routine of starting, but I felt good out there.”
So what’s the most important thing he’s learned in camp?
“Off the field, just kind of being good to the guys, being a good teammate,” he replied. “On the field, just kind of learning myself, learning what kind of pitcher I am. And I think the quicker you learn that, the more success you’re going to have.”
Update: Bundy issued a two-out walk in the eighth inning, but that’s it. He’s thrown 30 pitches, 17 strikes in two scoreless and hitless innings.
The Orioles have tapped the independent market again, signing second baseman Tucker Nathans from Newark of the Cam-Am League.
Nathans, 24, hit .307/.362/.457 in 56 games with Newark last summer. He also played in the Frontier League.
Today’s attendance of 8,796 is a stadium record, topping last year’s mark of 8,686 set against the New York Yankees.