Robinson switches positions and homers (Matusz and game updates)

FORT MYERS, Fla. - Trayvon Robinson started today’s game in left field, with Nate McLouth playing in center, but they switched positions in the bottom of the second inning.

Robinson led off the top of the third inning with a home run.

Coincidence? You be the judge.

Robinson went back to left field and McLouth returned to center in the third inning. Now I’m convinced they’re just messing with us.

No idea why Robinson and McLouth keep changing places, but that will be one of the questions directed at manager Buck Showalter following the game.

Update: They switched again, with Robinson going to center and McLouth to left in the fourth. Maybe Showalter wants to give them both some innings in center today before Adam Jones returns to the lineup on Wednesday.

Robinson’s homer tied the game 1-1 and the Orioles scored two more runs in the inning on Taylor Teagarden’s ground-rule double, Jason Pridie’s single to center, Brian Roberts’ RBI single to right and McLouth’s RBI grounder to short.

The Orioles actually had five straight hits off Boston Red Sox starter Ryan Dempster. Manny Machado singled with two outs in the second inning and was picked off first base by catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia.

Roberts dived into second on a stolen base in the third.

It’s been an interesting three innings for left-hander Brian Matusz. He threw 11 pitches, all strikes, in the first, but he allowed a run on Mike Napoli’s sacrifice fly after a one-out double by Shane Victorino and single by Dustin Pedroia.

Matusz’s first 12 pitches were strikes.

The Red Sox failed to score in the second despite two hits and a walk. Ryan Sweeney hit into a rare 4-5 double play, with Roberts stepping on the bag for the force and firing to Machado, who applied the tag at third.

Matusz retired the side in order in the third, getting three ground balls. He threw eight pitches, seven for strikes.

So far, Matusz has thrown 29 of his 38 pitches for strikes.

I’m spending more time tracking Robinson and McLouth than I am Matusz’s pitches.

Update II: Robinson and McLouth are switching places each inning. Robinson was back in left and McLouth in center in the fifth.

Matusz completed five innings, allowing one run and six hits, with one walk and two strikeouts. He’s the first Orioles pitcher to complete five innings this spring.

Matusz gave up two hits in the fifth, but he stranded both runners, with Dustin Pedroia fanning to end the inning. His fastball ranged from 89-92 mph today. It was mostly 90-91.

In his last two outings, Matusz has allowed one run and six hits in nine innings, with two walks and nine strikeouts. In his last three appearances, he’s allowed one run and eight hits in 11 innings, with two walks and 11 strikeouts.

Kevin Gausman is pitching in the sixth inning.

Update III: Gausman struck out Napoli and Saltalammachia, gave up a ground-rule double to Will Middlebrooks and retired Jonny Gomes on a long fly ball to left-center field.

The Orioles increased their lead to 4-1 in the seventh on a balk by Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard. Machado led off with a walk, moved to third and eventually came home.

Roberts walked and stole his second base today, going in standing this time. Ryan Flaherty delivered a two-run single off Bard.

Orioles 6, Red Sox 1.

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