Norris tosses three scoreless innings (Orioles win 7-3)


Score: Orioles 7, Red Sox 3

Recap: Bud Norris allowed two hits over three scoreless innings, striking out four and not issuing a walk. Nick Markakis collected his third double in two games and scored on J.J. Hardy’s two-bagger. Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run homer. Tommy Hunter and Eduardo Rodriguez each served up a home run.

Need to know: Darren O’Day was impressive while working the fifth inning. He struck out a batter and induced two grounders to first baseman Chris Davis. He’s been working with former Orioles reliever Todd Frohwirth on a changeup.

On deck: Sunday, home vs. Pirates, 1:05 p.m.

SARASOTA, Fla. - Kevin Gausman is starting the Orioles’ other split-squad game tonight, with Josh Stinson, Ryan Webb, Evan Meek, Mike Wright and Troy Patton also on the travel roster.

Patton has made every trip this spring without appearing in a game. Ride the bus, sit in the bullpen, get back on the bus.

Patton must serve a 25-game suspension to begin the regular season, so he’ll stay back at extended spring training after the Orioles break camp.

Wei-Yin Chen, Steve Johnson and Brad Brach are scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Pirates in Sarasota. Edinson Volquez starts for Pittsburgh.

Chris Tillman, Brock Huntzinger and T.J. McFarland will face the Pirates Monday in Bradenton. Right-hander Jay Jackson is starting for Pittsburgh.

Miguel Gonzalez is scheduled to start Tuesday against the Red Sox in Sarasota unless manager Buck Showalter bumps him up.

As for today’s starter, Bud Norris allowed two hits over three scoreless innings. He walked none and struck out four. By my unofficial count, he threw 23 of his 37 pitches for strikes.

Norris’ fastball topped out at 94 mph.

Norris retired Jackie Bradley Jr. on a fly ball leading off the top of the first inning and struck out Deven Marrero and Mike Carp - the last pitch a 93 mph fastball on the outer half of the plate. He threw nine of his 15 pitches for strikes.

Norris needed only six pitches to complete the second, allowing a leadoff single to Will Middlebrooks, inducing a double play ball from Travis Shaw on the next pitch and retiring Ryan Lavarnway on a fly ball to center field. He gave up a leadoff single to Bryce Brentz in the third before striking out the next two batters and retiring Bradley on a grounder to first.

Matt Wieters gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the second on a single into right-center field that scored Nelson Cruz, who doubled to left field leading off the inning.

Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy opened the bottom of the third with back-to-back doubles to increase the lead to 2-0. Markakis went 4-for-4 with two doubles yesterday.

According to multiple reports, Ervin Santana is choosing between the Orioles and Blue Jays on a one-year deal. He will decide by 4 p.m. today.

The Blue Jays reportedly have $14 million on the table, but the Orioles could exceed that amount with incentives.

Update: Tommy Hunter retired the first two Red Sox batters in the fourth, striking out Deven Marrero, but Will Middlebrooks homered to reduce the Orioles’ lead to 3-1.

Darren O’Day cruised through the fifth, sandwiching two grounders to first baseman Chris Davis around a strikeout.

Norris said he felt “pretty good” during today’s outing, but his back tightened in the second.

“The main thing was I wanted to work on my fastball command, get back out there for my second start,” he said. “Back got a little tight there in the second inning, but nothing to worry about. I felt good and I worked fast.”

The four strikeouts mean “you’re playing on the corners, you’re getting ahead of hitters and you have a chance to put guys away,” he said. “That being said, that’s what you want when you’ve got a guy ahead. You want to put him away. There are situations in the American League where you’re going to need that.

“I felt good. Got a couple looking and a couple swinging. Obviously, it’s a good stat to have.

“Right-hander or left-hander, I’m trying to hit the glove. I’m trying to play both sides of the plate and work on the things I’m working on. The results were great today and I’m happy with that.”

Update II: Alex Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the sixth, and the Orioles are leading the Red Sox 7-3 in the seventh.

Bryce Brentz hit a two-run homer off Eduardo Rodriguez in the top of the seventh.

Still nothing new with Santana. Deciding between Orioles and Blue Jays, who are offering slightly more guaranteed money.

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