Pearce hits team-leading fourth homer as O's take lead in Clearwater (Hammel now out)

CLEARWATER, Fla. - An Orioles split squad has taken the early 1-0 lead on Philadephia at Bright House Field in their second meeting this spring with the Phillies.

Jason Hammel is making just his third start in an official spring game, but he also pitched in a simulated game earlier to get his innings in. He has retired six of seven batters faced through two frames on just 23 pitches, 17 for strikes. He could pitch five innings or so here today, maybe more depending on the pitch count.

With one out and none on in the top of the second, Orioles right fielder Steve Pearce hit an 0-2 pitch out to left for his team-leading fourth spring homer. That breaks the tie he had with Ryan Flaherty and Conor Jackson for the O's homer lead.

Pearce is now batting .407 (11-for-27) and he also leads the club with 12 RBIs, just one off the lead among American League players in spring games.

The O's loaded the bases with two outs in the inning after the Pearce homer on a Trayvon Robinson single, an Alexi Casilla single and walk to Flaherty, but Nolan Reimold lined out to center to end that threat.

Roy Halladay started today for the Phillies and left after just one inning where he had shutout the Birds, allowing a hit and a walk. That raised some eyebrows here as he had given up seven runs in just 2 2/3 innings in his last start. But the Phillies announced he was out of the game due to a stomach virus. Nothing to do with his pitching arm as Phils' fans breathed a sigh of relief.

Zach Minor came on to pitch in the top of the second.

Other O's pitchers here today are Tommy Hunter, Daniel McCutchen, Todd Redmond, Chris Petrini, Zech Zinicola and Rob Delaney.

Update: The Phillies tied the game 1-1 in the last of the third on doubles by Erik Kratz and Ben Revere off Hammel, who needed 19 pitches to get through that inning.

O's left fielder Jason Pridie looked like he might catch the drive off Revere's bat, but the ball came out as he collided with the wall. The run was going to score anyway as Kratz had reached third on a groundout.

Wilson Betemit has a pair of singles today after starting the spring at 3-for-23 with 11 strikeouts.

Update II: Philadelphia took a 2-1 lead on Hammel in the fourth.

Ryan Howard led off with a single to center and Michael Young hit a bloop double to right to put runners on second and third with no outs. Hammel did a good job to minimize the damage at that point with just one run scoring on an RBI groundout. Through four, he is at 61 pitches with 39 strikes.

Update III: Hammel left today's game after pitching 4 2/3 innings. In the fifth, he gave up a one-out walk to Ben Revere and then Freddy Galvis hit a two-run homer to right on a 1-0 pitch. After getting Chase Utley to fly out, Hammel came out and Tommy Hunter came on to get the inning's final out.

Hammel today: 4 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs (all earned), 1 walk, 3 strikeouts. He threw 77 pitches, 47 for strikes.

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