He didn’t hit any homers or strike out Adrian Gonzalez with a splitter, but Steve Pearce did a pretty good job filling in for Chris Davis at first base today.
Pearce, playing his first game since the Orioles re-signed him Tuesday, went 3-for-4 with two RBIs and made some nice plays in the field as the O’s beat Pittsburgh 5-1 in Game 1 of a doubleheader.
Shut down through four innings against Bucs right-hander Charlie Morton, the O’s broke through with three in the fifth and one in the sixth.
Pearce’s bases-loaded single tied the game 1-1 in the fifth and Ryan Flaherty, batting ninth, followed with a two-run single to left for a 3-1 lead. An inning later, Pearce singled to plate another run.
Nick Markakis came up with his first homer of 2014, a solo shot to right in the seventh, to make it a 5-1 game. It was his first homer since Sept. 12.
The Orioles had scored just 28 runs over their first 11 home games and had scored more than three runs at Camden Yards just once in 2014 before this game.
Bud Norris got the win on the mound. He was in trouble often today, but kept getting out of jams and limiting the damage. Over 5 1/3 innings, Norris allowed seven hits and one run with one walk, two hit batters and three strikeouts. He threw 105 pitches and is 2-2 with an ERA of 3.94.
The Pirates went just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position against him and opposing batters are 4-for-29 (.138) with RISP against Norris on the year.
The Pirates saw a nine-game road win streak against American League teams end this afternoon. They were a major league-best 15-5 in interleague games in 2013. Pittsburgh is 4-14 since a 6-3 start.
A winner of four of their last six games, the Orioles improved to 6-6 at home and 13-12 for the season.
The second game of the doubleheader will follow shortly with Chris Tillman (3-1, 3.38 ERA) facing Brandon Cumpton (0-1, 2.57 ERA).