Cashner tosses four scoreless innings in debut (O’s win 4-0)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Andrew Cashner became the first Orioles starter this spring to go more than three innings, and he did it in his first appearance on a stadium mound.

Making his debut against the Phillies at Ed Smith Stadium, Cashner tossed four shutout innings and allowed only one hit, with three walks and two strikeouts. The hit came on a bunt by former Orioles farmhand Pedro Florimón.

Cashner threw 60 pitches, 36 for strikes.

Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright Jr., Nestor Cortes Jr., Miguel Castro and Hunter Harvey have completed three innings in exhibition games. Cashner passed them when Nick Williams led off the fourth by becoming the sixth Phillies batter to ground out.

Cashner Complex Sidebar.jpgCashner retired the side in order in the first on ground balls to shortstop, third base and second base - the last sounding like it broke Williams’ bat. His fastball was 90-93 on the stadium gun during a 12-pitch inning.

Former minor league teammate Ryan Flaherty grounded to short on the second pitch. Cashner fell behind 3-0 to Rhys Hoskins before recording the out with the count full, and he got a swing-and-miss from Williams on his changeup.

Signed to a two-year, $16 million deal that includes an option for 2020, Cashner eased into Grapefruit League competition with a couple of simulated games on Field 4. His competitive nature was on display. Teammates kept commenting on it.

Tonight’s assignment gave him a broader audience.

Cashner walked Carlos Santana on seven pitches to open the second, but Craig Gentry made a sliding catch near the right field line to rob Aaron Altherr and threw to first to complete the double play. Santana appeared to get back safely, but it’s an exhibition game. Forget the reviews.

Gentry continues to make a strong argument for breaking camp with the team despite his status as a non-roster invitee. Cashner pointed at him after the double play. It was a gem.

Florimón led off the third with his bunt single, pushing the ball past the right side of the mound. Florimón stole second base - Cameron Rupp appeared to interfere with catcher Caleb Joseph - and Cashner registered his first strikeout.

Pivetta grounded to short - the Phillies aren’t using a designated hitter - Flaherty walked and stole second base and Hoskins flied to deep right field. Cashner had thrown 44 pitches, 27 for strikes.

Santana walked with one out in the fourth, but Altherr struck out and Maikel Franco lined to center. Darren O’Day began to warm.

Cashner was allowed to go four innings after tossing two and three in his simulated games.

Tim Beckham drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first, but Trey Mancini hit into a force and Flaherty started a 6-4-3 double play on Manny Machado’s grounder to short.

Adam Jones led off the bottom of the second inning with a single, but Nick Pivetta retired the next three hitters on a popup and two fly balls.

Update: Jonathan Schoop led off the fifth inning with a double and scored with two outs on Austin Hays’ single, and Joseph followed with a two-run homer to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead. Joseph is 8-for-18 this spring. He was the only catcher in camp who hadn’t hit a home run.

Update II: Darren O’Day, Rule 5 pick Pedro Araujo and Mychal Givens each tossed a scoreless inning. Araujo struck out two and Givens fanned one.

Anthony Santander’s RBI single in the seventh increased the lead to 4-0.

Here’s Cashner:

On whether pleased with performance: “I think for me it’s more just about pitch execution than results. The results are always nice, but I’m more interested in what I’m executing and what I’m not.”

On whether happy with execution: “Yeah. I thought there are some things I need to work on, but overall anytime you have zeros you can never be mad.”

On working with Joseph and the infield: “That was the first time I worked with Caleb. I haven’t thrown anything to him yet, but great receiver. We talked about the game plan before the game. Tried some things I probably won’t do in the season, but it’s more so just working on it right now.”

On getting so many ground balls: “I think part of my game plan is to pitch up with my fastball. High sinkers are really hard to hit, but I think It’s keeping the ball down, getting my strikes early and then trying to finish them up late is definitely kind of the game plan.”

On Gentry catch: “That was a big play. I thought that ball was out when he hit it. It was a mistake by me. Unfortunately, it stayed up middle away and he put a good swing on it. That speed in the outfield, it’s nice to have.”

On whether more amped up cause night/MASN game: “I’m always amped up. I love this (stuff).”

Update III: James Teague retired the side in order in the ninth and the Orioles won 4-0. They’re 9-8-1.

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