After he struggled for a second outing in a row in the Grapefruit League, Orioles left-hander Keegan Akin was not happy to just get his work in. He said the results matter and today he allowed two runs in 1 2/3 innings at Ed Smith Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays.
Making his first start and second appearance, Akin got into immediate trouble in the first inning. He walked leadoff batter Jonathan Davis, but then got two straight outs. He could not close out the inning, however, walking Rowdy Tellez and Danny Jansen back-to-back to load the bases. Third baseman Joe Panik then delivered a two-run single to left as Toronto took the lead. With his pitch count in the 30 range at that point, Spenser Watkins replaced Akin and got the inning’s final out.
Akin then became the third O’s starter this spring to re-enter a game as he took the mound for a second inning. He yielded back-to-back singles with one out but then fanned Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Cavan Biggio to escape that jam and put up a zero.
Akin ended on a good note. But he allowed two runs and three hits with three walks and four strikeouts.
“The results definitely matter to me. Obviously, last year was last year. We’ve got a lot of good arms in camp. My mindset coming in was I’ve got to make the team. So to me, the results matter,” said Akin, who now has a 7.36 ERA.
“I think it was more of a mindset in the first inning. I was kind of trying to aim the ball, I guess, rather than pitch the ball and throw it and trust it. So it’s, I guess, more of a mental thing than anything. But you know, just to kind of forget that and go back out there and get out of the second inning, that was my one positive for the day.”
Through two games, Akin has thrown 3 2/3 innings, allowing four hits and three runs with five walks to six strikeouts.
But the strikeouts of the No. 2 and No. 3 hitters in the Toronto lineup to end the second will give him something to build on for his next outing.
“Oh, for sure,” he said. “You know, you’re going to get hit in this ballgame. It’s just the name of it. So to go out and just, in my mind, throw strikes and compete in the zone and strike a couple of guys out and get out of that runners on first and second was kind of a positive takeaway from that. That was, I guess, the positive thing, like I said, to go out the second inning, get out of it and throw well. I just told myself, ‘I’m just going to throw it through the zone and throw the crap out of it rather than just aim it or try to place it in a certain spot.’ “
O’s Rule 5 pick Mac Sceroler allowed a leadoff walk, then got the next three hitters in order in pitching a scoreless third inning. The O’s other Rule 5 pick, right-hander Tyler Wells, allowed a hit and a walk, but no runs in the Blue Jays fourth.
The O’s tied this game in the last of the third. Anthony Santander walked and then Trey Mancini singled. Yusniel Diaz pinch-ran for Mancini. Freddy Galvis singled in a run and another scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Chance Sisco.
So the game is tied up in the fifth inning. This entry will be updated later.
O’s win over Toronto: Toronto broke the tie, scoring once in the top of the sixth, but the Orioles scored two runs in last of the sixth to beat the Blue Jays 4-3 in Sarasota in a seven-inning game.
The Orioles ended a four-game losing streak, won for the first time since Thursday and improved to 3-6-1. Toronto is 5-4-1.
With two outs and none on in the sixth, Toronto’s Forrest Wall hit a solo homer off Cole Sulser for a 3-2 lead. But the O’s moved ahead in the last of the inning. Freddy Galvis singled, giving him a 3-for-3 day and a .444 average, and Jordan Westburg pinch-ran for him. Adley Rutschman walked to put two men on. Tyler Nevin singled with two outs and two runs scored, one on the hit and the second on an error as Baltimore moved ahead 4-3.
On the mound, after Sceroler pitched that scoreless third, Wells kept Toronto off the board in the fourth and fifth. He allowed three hits with one walk and two strikeouts. But the Rule 5 picks combined for three scoreless innings today. Despite allowing the go-ahead run, Sulser got the win and Eric Hanhold pitched a scoreless seventh.
The Orioles did bat in the last of the seventh, even though they were leading at that point.