Game update and hearing from Norris (O’s win 4-2)


Score: Orioles 4, Pirates 2

Recap: Bud Norris became the second Orioles starter to complete five innings, joining Chris Tillman. Andrew McCutchen homered off Norris in the first inning for the only run off the right-hander. Nelson Cruz doubled twice and drove in a run, and Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar lifted a sacrifice fly to score Jemile Weeks and break a 1-1 tie in the seventh. Henry Urrutia had an RBI grounder and Chad Tracy had a sacrifice fly in the eighth.

Need to know: David Lough singled in his first at-bat in more than a week and stole second base, so he’s fine. He scored on Tracy’s sac fly. Look for him in Friday’s lineup after he came off the bench tonight.

On deck: Friday, home vs. Braves, 1:05 p.m.

BRADENTON, Fla. - Jemile Weeks walked in the seventh as a pinch-hitter, took second on Caleb Joseph’s single, stole third and scored on Michael Almanzar’s sacrifice fly to break a 1-1 tie.

Weeks has seven stolen bases this spring.

Steve Johnson struck out two while retiring the Pirates in order in the sixth, and Alfredo Aceves retired the side in the seventh.

Bud Norris was glad to give the Orioles five innings tonight after failing to complete the second in his last start.

“Yeah, considering the way New York went, I was pretty happy to get through five,” he said. “The ups and downs are really important and I felt pretty good out there.

“We’re all trying to get to that pitch count, trying to just elevate it each time we go out there. I think I got to about 75, which was good and hopefully build on that, too.

“As a starting pitcher, you pitch deeper in the games and you get more comfortable with. You’re building your pitch count. Early, the first time, you get a little jitters the first couple starts, but I feel comfortable. I’ve been working hard and getting closer to closer to opening day, I feel pretty good.”

It felt more like a regular season game tonight under the lights at McKechnie Field.

“Absolutely,” Norris said. “We’re used to playing 7 o’clock games compared to one. Just the adrenaline, we know we’re breaking camp here soon and those last couple spots are out there to go get, so everybody’s been working real hard and kind of getting antsy because we know there’s still work to be done.”

The only run off Norris came on a wind-blown opposite-field home run by Andrew McCutchen.

“Early in the game, you’re going to give up a solo,” Norris said. “He put a good swing on the ball. Mistake I made, but I faced him a few times in my career and the numbers are going to be there. It’s a great battle. He’s a great player. We all know who he is and what he’s capable of doing. He’s someone a lot of teams are going to have to deal with this year.”

Norris had more in the tank, but manager Buck Showalter went to his bullpen after the fifth.

“I felt great,” Norris said. “I think it was just up to Wally (Dave Wallace) and Buck. Like I said, I’m going to go out there and try and pitch as long as I can, but they’re going to take the ball out of my hand, which is OK, too.”

Norris has been impressive in three of his four starts, including back-to-back scoreless outings.

“I’ve said to you guys all along, staying healthy is the biggest thing for me,” he said. “A lot of guys can go too fast or too slow and not be where they need to be. I’ve worked real hard to be healthy and feel as good as I do, so I’m hoping to carry that over to the season as well.”

Update: The Orioles scored twice in the eighth to lead 4-1.

Henry Urrutia had an RBI grounder and Chad Tracy had a sacrifice fly.

David Lough, in his first at-bat in more than a week, singled, stole second and scored the fourth run.

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