Mixed bag from Arrieta (O’s win 5-4)

Do you focus on the walks and the pitch count, or do you focus on the runs allowed and strikeouts?

Jake Arrieta worked five-plus innings tonight against the Tampa Bay rays, and the only run against him came on Desmond Jennings’ leadoff home run in the top of the first inning. He has a chance to win his first game of 2013 after two no-decisions.

Arrieta came back out for the top of the sixth and walked Evan Longoria on five pitches, raising his total to 112 (63 strikes). He walked five batters tonight, three coming with two outs.

Arrieta is charged with one run and three hits, with five walks, seven strikeouts and one home run. He’s totaled five innings in all three starts this season.

That’s consistency.

In those three starts, Arrieta has allowed nine runs and 13 hits in 15 innings, with 11 walks and 14 strikeouts. He came out of his previous start in Boston after a 43-minute rain delay.

Troy Patton replaced Arrieta tonight and stranded Longoria, though Matt Joyce drove a pitch to the warning track in center field. Patton has stranded three of four inherited runners this season.

Manager Buck Showalter will praise Arrieta for giving the Orioles a chance to win, for minimizing the damage. And he will agree that Arrieta needs to throw more strikes and keep his pitch count down.

Down on the farm, Kevin Gausman allowed six runs (five earned) and 10 hits in six innings at Double-A Bowie, with no walks, five strikeouts, one home run, two wild pitches and a hit batter. He threw 92 pitches, 66 for strikes.

Update: Patton retired all four batters he faced before Pedro Strop replaced him with one out in the seventh.

The Orioles scored twice in the sixth on an Evan Longoria error with the bases loaded and Ryan Flaherty’s ground out.

Orioles 5, Rays 1

Longoria tried to get the out at home on J.J. Hardy’s grounder and threw wide of the plate. A rare miscue.

Flaherty is 2-for-27 with 11 strikeouts this season.

Tonight’s attendance: 14,670

Update II: Kelly Johnson and Longoria homered off reliever Pedro Strop in the eighth inning to reduce the Orioles’ lead to 5-4. Strop walked Ben Zobrist and Longoria followed with a two-run shot.

Brian Matusz has entered the game.

The Orioles have won 96 consecutive regular season games when leading after seven innings. The Rays are trying real hard to end that streak tonight.

Update III: Jim Johnson retired all three batters he faced in the ninth inning, the ball never leaving the infield, and the Orioles held on for a 5-4 victory over the Rays.

Johnson notched his sixth save. He still hasn’t allowed an earned run in seven appearances.

The Orioles move back above .500 at 7-6.

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