Hammel: "Nice to be out there with two good knees" (O's win 6-5)

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Pirates scored a run in the third, fourth and fifth innings off right-hander Mike Wright, reducing the Orioles' lead to 4-3. Matt Wieters delivered an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, but Gaby Sanchez hit his second home run of the day leading off the top of the sixth, this one off left-hander Mark Hendrickson.

Wright is the first pitcher to work three innings for the Orioles this spring.

Brian Roberts' home run was his first since April 13, 2011. Tip of the cap to The Sun's Ed Encina for looking it up.

Jason Hammel seemed happy with his outing today after allowing one hit and striking out two in two scoreless innings.

"Nice to be out there with two good knees and not have to worry about any extra help for stability and stuff like that," said Hammel, who underwent a procedure on his right knee in July. "Very, very happy. The results were good. There's still stuff to work on, but it was a good start. Good first one."

Hammel said he was pleased with his command.

"For the first one, definitely," he said. "That was my goal, I told Matty (Wieters) lots of fastballs, and then with the lefties we were going to work changeup and curveballs, things like that. The only scuffle I can say was probably the four-seamer. I wasn't quite on top like I should be. But good sinker and everything else was pretty much right where it should be."

Hammel said it's like "night and day" now compared to how his knee felt during the American League Division Series.

"I can feel my lower half," he said. "It's not more of just trying to build momentum to get toward the plate because I didn't have the backside push. I felt outstanding (today).

"I made a goal for me in the offseason to be able to come out and pitch without a brace. So, check that one off the list."

Roberts gave Hammel a 1-0 lead with a home run in the bottom of the first inning. Roberts also has singled twice today.

"It's good to see him back," Hammel said. "It's very frustrating for a guy who wants to be out there and can't be out there. I've been through that. He was for a much longer time. I don't know how he got through that, but good to see him out there for sure."

Nolan Reimold jogged off the field with the other starters as manager Buck Showalter began emptying his bench. He was carrying bats in one hand. Another good sign, I suppose.

Update: Jason Pridie, who replaced Reimold in left field, homered off Pirates reliever Duke Welker in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Orioles a 6-4 lead.

The Orioles had three spring homers coming into the game. They've hit four today.

Update II: Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland gave up another run today, and the Orioles are clinging to a 6-5 lead in the bottom of the seventh.

McFarland has allowed three runs in 2 1/3 innings. He also struggled in the intrasquad game.

Update III: Branden Kline walked the leadoff batter in the ninth and retired the next three hitters, and the Orioles returned to their winning ways with a 6-5 victory over the Pirates.

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