Gonzalez struggling in Fort Myers (Gonzo goes five, Weeks breaks tie, O’s win 5-4)


Score: Orioles 5, Red Sox 4

Recap: Miguel Gonzalez struggled in his last start before the regular season, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks in five innings. He struck out two and surrendered two homers on the way to seeing his spring ERA climb to 3.54. The Orioles blew an early 3-0 lead to fall behind 4-3. But Ryan Flaherty and Jemile Weeks each drove in a run in the sixth to return the lead to the Orioles. T.J. McFarland, Ryan Webb, Steve Johnson and Evan Meek each tossed a scoreless inning in relief to make that stand up for a 5-4 win.

Need to know: While the Orioles focused on defense when choosing a backup catcher, Steve Clevenger continued to show that he brings some offensive potential to that spot. Clevenger hit his second spring homer and is batting .457 with seven RBIs this exhibition season. Meek struck out the side in the ninth and has now allowed just one run while striking out eight and walking none in eight spring innings.

On deck: Tonight, at Rays in Port Charlotte at 7:05 p.m.

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Miguel Gonzalez isn’t nearly as sharp today as in his previous start.

Gonzalez has thrown 55 pitches in three innings, only 29 for strikes. He’s allowed two runs and five hits, walked two, struck out one and hit a batter.

Pitching coach Dave Wallace visited the mound in the third before Mike Carp singled to score Grady Sizemore, who led off with a walk and advanced on Dustin Pedroia’s single.

Another run scored on Mike Napoli’s double play grounder.

Orioles 3, Red Sox 2.

In his last start, Gonzalez shut out the Braves on three hits over six innings and didn’t walk a batter in Sarasota. Before today, he allowed four runs, walked one and struck out eight in 15 1/3 innings.

Ryan Flaherty has made two nice plays at third base today, and he just singled in the top of the fourth.

Flaherty fielded Jackie Bradley Jr’s sharp grounder in the second that deflected off Alexi Casilla and threw to first to end the inning and leave the bases loaded.

The Orioles took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third on an RBI double by Nick Markakis and run-scoring single by Chris Davis off the replica Green Monster in left. David Lough was hit by a pitch with one out and scored on Markakis’ double.

Markakis is 14-for-38 with five doubles and six RBIs this spring. Davis is 14-for-32 with four homers and 13 RBIs.

Update: Xander Bogaerts and Will Middlebrooks hit back-to-back homers off Gonzalez in the fourth, as the Red Sox took a 4-3 lead.

Gonzalez has returned for the fifth with his unofficial pitch count at 74, including 43 strikes. He’s allowed four runs and seven hits, with two walks, two strikeouts, two home runs and a hit batter.

Update II: Gonzalez needed only five pitches to complete the fifth inning while T.J. McFarland warmed in the bullpen. I’ve got Gonzalez at 79 pitches, 47 for strikes.

We’re tied 4-4 in the sixth after consecutive doubles by Henry Urrutia and Flaherty.

Update III: Jemile Weeks singled with two outs to give the Orioles a 5-4 lead in the sixth.

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