Valaika homers, LeBlanc gets win, bullpen strong late as O’s beat Miami

JUPITER, Fla. - On a day when the Orioles got just three hits, they beat the Miami Marlins 5-3 to split two games on their swing through the east coast of Florida. They head back to Sarasota with a record of 7-5-1 after a loss to Washington and win over Miami.

Today they scored two runs on Pat Valaika’s third spring homer and two more on a throwing error. Four bullpen pitchers put up zeros from the sixth on to lock down the win.

LeBlanc-Pitch-White-ST-sidebar.jpgNon-roster invitee lefty Wade LeBlanc continued his bid for a rotation spot, throwing three innings and 52 pitches. He got the win and is 2-0 in spring games. He gave up one hit and one run when Monte Harrison doubled off him to start the Miami third and later scored on Brian Anderson’s sac fly. LeBlanc walked one and fanned four. In two spring games he’s allowed one run over five innings.

Valaika blasted a Caleb Smith 1-1 pitch to left-center to produce a 2-0 O’s lead in the second. The homer scored Renato Núñez, who had walked. Valaika is batting .368 with three homers and five RBIs.

The lead doubled to 4-0 in the O’s third. Chance Sisco and Austin Hays drew walks and scored on a two-run throwing error on Miami catcher Francisco Cervelli. Andrew Velazquez dropped a bunt to advance the runners. Cervelli pounced on it but threw wildly past third and both runners scored.

After the Marlins cut that lead from 4-0 to 4-1 in the third, former Oriole Jonathan Villar hit a two-run homer off David Hess in the last of the fifth. Villar drilled a pitch to right-center for his second spring homer and the Marlins were down by just one run.

Hess gave up two runs in two innings and has a spring ERA of 8.44 over three appearances. In 5 1/3 innings he has allowed six hits and five runs.

But the rest of the way, the O’s got one scoreless inning each from Richard Bleier, Shawn Armstrong, Eric Hanhold and Branden Kline, who got the final three outs to record a save. Hanhold and Kline have each thrown four scoreless innings in camp, and Armstrong has thrown three. Bleier has allowed a run in three frames.

While the Orioles went just 3-for-27 at the plate, they drew nine walks today, two by leadoff hitter Austin Hays. The O’s added an insurance run in the ninth to account for the final margin. Ryan McKenna walked with one out, went to third on a Taylor Davis single and scored on a Mason McCoy sac fly.

The Orioles are 2-0 versus Miami and 6-1-1 their past eight games.

The O’s head home tonight and will host the Minnesota Twins at 3:05 p.m. on Thursday afternoon. Right-hander Brandon Bailey (1-0, 2.25 ERA) will get the start for the Orioles. The game will be broadcast live on the Orioles Radio Network.

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