ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Tampa Bay left-hander David Price retired the first two Orioles in the top of the first inning. Then he ran into a little trouble.
It was compounded when catcher Matt Wieters ran into a changeup.
Wieters launched a two-run homer to left-center field following Adam Jones’ double, giving the Orioles a quick 2-0 lead over the reigning Cy Young Award winner. Price missed with a 95 mph fastball, then tried an 87 mph changeup.
Wieters, batting cleanup today, responded with his first home run off Price in 28 career at-bats.
Price allowed one run in 22 1/3 innings against the Orioles last season. Wieters doubled that total with one swing of the bat.
No one on the Orioles’ current roster had homered off Price before today.
Chris Davis walked with two outs before J.J. Hardy flied to right on Price’s 23rd pitch of the inning.
Manny Machado, playing in his first opening day game in the majors and batting second today, worked Price for seven pitches before grounding out. He showed nice patience.
Jason Hammel threw 16 pitches, nine for strikes, in the bottom of the first. Ben Zobrist singled with two outs, but Evan Longoria grounded into a force.
Nolan Reimold made a nice running catch in left field to rob Tampa Bay leadoff hitter Desmond Jennings. Reimold slammed into the wall and held onto the ball.
Update: Price threw 60 pitches through three innings. Hammel threw 30. That’s twice as many by Price, if you trust my math.
Wieters worked him for 13 pitches before drawing a walk in the third that loaded the bases with one out. Davis bounced into a 6-3 double play to take Price off the ropes.
Hardy doubled leading off the fourth, but he was stranded. Price threw 15 pitches that inning, which seemed economical on this day.
Hammel has retired nine of the first 10 batters as we head to the bottom of the fourth.
Update II: Hammel retired eight in a row before Zobrist homered to right field to cut the Orioles’ lead to 2-1.
Zobrist was 0-for-2 lifetime against Hammel before today. Small sample size.
The Orioles may regret wasting so many chances against Price. They’re 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and have stranded four.