Wieters gives Orioles early lead at Norfolk (O’s win 4-3)


Score: Orioles 4, Norfolk 3 (rain, six innings)

Recap: Matt Wieters hit a three-run homer off Zach Davies in the top of the second and the Orioles went on to a 4-3, rain-shortened win over Triple-A Norfolk today. The game was halted by rain after five and a half innings. The homer was Wieters’ first of this spring and he now has eight RBIs. Several half-innings were ended early during the game due to high pitch count including the last of the fifth when Norfolk scored once off Mike Wright and had the bases loaded with no outs when the inning was ended. The Tides might have won this game had they been allowed to send up more hitters then. Suk-min Yook started for the Orioles and gave up four hits and two runs over 3 2/3 innings and had one inning ended early, too.

Need to know: The Orioles optioned right-hander Kevin Gausman, left-hander T.J. McFarland and infielder Jemile Weeks to Norfolk. With this win, the Orioles end the exhibition season at 14-9-4.

On deck: The 2014 season opener at home against Boston Monday at 3:05 when Chris Tillman faces Jon Lester.

NORFOLK, Va. - Young right-hander Zach Davies, pitching for Triple-A Norfolk today, had quite a first inning before running into trouble in the second against the Orioles at Harbor Park.

The 21-year-old, who is expected to start the season in the Double-A Bowie rotation, got David Lough to line out to right to start the game. Davies then struck out J.J. Hardy and Chris Davis back to back, getting Hardy with an excellent changeup.

But the Orioles quickly got to the kid in the second. After singles by Adam Jones and Nelson Cruz put runners on the corners, Matt Wieters hit a three-run homer down the right field line for a 3-0 lead. It was his first spring homer and he now has eight RBIs.

The Orioles went on to put runners on first and third with one out before the inning was ended, apparently due to Davies’ pitch count getting too high in that inning.

Suk-min Yoon has pitched two shutout innings for the Orioles, allowing one hit with no walks and one strikeout.

Earlier, Buck Showalter talked about Nick Markakis and neck stiffness he felt on the plane that is keeping him out of this game. Is he concerned Markakis could miss Monday’s opener?

“Not yet,” Showalter said. “Not yet, I didn’t ask (if he would have played in a regular-season game). We decided not to do something today that might make it worse.”

While he did not announce any roster moves before today’s game, Showalter did say his team is rather eager for a new season to start.

“I know our guys are champing at the bit to get started. They are tired of hearing my stuff, they look forward to playing another team where the games count,” he said.

Showalter said both teams worked hard to get this game in and it was important for the Orioles to try and get here for the fans of the Triple-A team.

“We knew if it was at all possible, we were going to be here,” Showalter said. “You always have to make contingency plans, it’s just prudent to do that. We had about three different plans. ... If we had any shot at all, we were coming. ... It’s a good day for our organization and hopefully for Norfolk. Norfolk has been good to us and I’d like to think we try to be as good to them as they are to us.”

Showalter was asked if Jonathan Schoop had made the opening day roster.

“We’ll have something there shortly. We are trying to have some last-minute conversations, in contact with Dan (Duquette). A lot of things, as you all well know, are flying around this time of year,” Showalter said. “You wish you could do it quickly. ... The players understand at this level what’s going on. And a guy like Jon, I think he feels confident that it’s going to be when as opposed to if.

“Ive got a final roster downstairs in my notebook, but I’m real careful about telling somebody something that I don’t know is going to come to pass for sure. And I want them to feel confident when I tell them something that it’s going to happen. Hopefully I’m going to be able to get that done before we leave here today.”

Update: After four innings, the O’s lead Norfolk 4-2. The Orioles added their latest run on an RBI single in the fourth by Ryan Flaherty. It scored Nelson Cruz, who walked and advanced to second on a fly out.

Norfolk scored twice off Yoon in the third on RBI doubles by Julio Borbon and Cord Phelps. Yoon has allowed two runs and four hits through four innings. Technically speaking, it’s 3 2/3 innings as the last of the third was stopped with just two outs due to pitch count.

Tyler Wilson is now pitching for Norfolk in the top of the fifth after Davies pitched the first four with two of his innings ending early.

Update II: The Tides cut the lead to 4-3 in the fifth against Mike Wright, who came on for the Orioles in place of Yoon. Wright gave up three singles and a walk before they ended that inning due to pitch count with the bases loaded and no outs. An RBI single by Quintin Berry produced the Tides’ third run.

Yoon went 3 2/3 innnings for the Orioles, allowing four hits and two runs with no walks and two strikeouts.

Update III: The game has been halted by rain with the Orioles leading 4-3 after five and half innings. A resumption of the game seems unlikely, but at the moment this is just a rain delay.

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