Disappointing start for Britton (Roberts gives O’s lead)

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles wanted to stretch out left-hander Zach Britton to five or six innings today.

He didn’t make it out of the second.

Britton allowed five runs and seven hits, including a homer by Emilio Bonifacio, in 1 2/3 innings. He walked two of the first three batters he faced and struck out one before manager Buck Showalter removed him from the game.

Britton threw 59 pitches, 36 for strikes, in his second-shortest outing of the spring. He went one inning in his debut on Feb. 23, which is the norm for a first appearance.

In his last outing, Britton allowed one hit in 3 2/3 scoreless innings against the Boston Red Sox to remain in the thick of the fifth starter competition. Today’s game, now being played in a light rain, didn’t enhance his chances.

Britton threw 36 pitches in the first inning while allowing three runs on three hits and two walks. Twenty-one of those pitches were strikes.

The first four batters reached against Britton, with J.P. Arencibia delivering a three-run double. Britton threw 24 pitches before recording his first out.

Ryan Langerhans struck out to end the inning.

Maicer Izturis led off the second with a double and took third on Anthony Gose’s sacrifice bunt. Manny Machado turned in a nice play, charging the ball, making the clean pickup and firing to first. But Bonifacio followed with a long homer to left-center field - an absolute no-doubter. Britton didn’t even bother to turn around.

Melky Cabrera singled, Arencibia doubled again and Adam Lind was retired on a broken-bat grounder to second. For whatever reason, Cabrera held at third base instead of racing home.

At that point, Showalter had seen enough and called for minor leaguer Zech Zinicola, who stranded the inherited runners.

Britton has allowed 10 runs and 17 hits in six games covering 12 1/3 innings. However, his outing against Team Spain, when he permitted three runs and four hits in two innings, doesn’t count in the Grapefruit League statistics.

Brian Roberts doubled in the bottom of the first inning, making him 12-for-34 this spring. Adam Jones, back from the World Baseball Classic, followed with a ground ball to first.

J.J. Hardy and Nolan Reimold opened the bottom of the second with back-to-back home runs. Reimold’s ball cleared the picnic area in left for his third homer this spring. Hardy is 3-for-26 with two homers.

Reimold also homered the last time he played left field on March 1. He exited the game with soreness in his right shoulder, but we don’t expect a repeat today.

Update: Nate McLouth also homered in the second inning, his first of the spring, to reduce Toronto’s lead to 5-3.

Roberts walked and dived into second base on a wild pitch.

This game is 1 hour, 7 minutes old and we’ve completed two innings. Nice pace.

Update II: Blue Jays pitcher Guillermo Moscoso is doing a fine impression of starter Jeremy Jeffress.

Moscosco has served up two home runs in the bottom of the third. Chris Davis cleared the center-field fence leading off the inning, and Reimold cleared the picnic area again for his fourth homer of the spring.

We’re tied 5-5 as rain continues to fall here at Ed Smith Stadium. Lots of orange ponchos in the crowd.

Update III: Roberts delivered a two-out RBI single in the third to give the Orioles a 6-5 lead.

They finally scored a run without a ball clearing the fence.

Roberts has a double, walk and RBI single in three plate appearances in three innings. Yes, three innings.

I’m hoping that none of the Orioles pour a glass of milk after the game. All of the dairy products have expired.

Darren O’Day will pitch the top of the fourth inning.

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