By Eduardo A. Encina
The Baltimore Sun
1:38 PM PST, March 8, 2012
SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles won their second straight Grapefruit League game, backed by another superb pitching performance Thursday afternoon in a 2-1 victory over the Braves at Ed Smith Stadium.
Right-hander Jason Hammel, making his first Grapefruit League start in an Orioles uniform, tossed a pair of scoreless innings despite allowing back-to-back one-out singles in the second inning.
“Honestly, for the first time out, considering all things, results were good,” Hammel said. “I struggled with the fastball; I was a little erratic today. That was my goal, just to work on fastball command. First inning was good, second inning was a little shady. It’s a B, C-plus for the effort coming out, working through some stressful times already. I was hoping that would come a little bit later.”
Right fielder Jai Miller had two of the Orioles’ six hits – a second-inning double and an RBI single that tied the game at 1 in the seventh inning.
Third baseman Steve Tolleson made a rally-killing play in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and the score still tied, sliding into the hole to snag Ernesto Mejia’s ball and turning a 5-4-3 inning-ending double play.
"Very quietly, Steve has had a really good spring,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He's been solid."
Orioles center fielder Xavier Avery’s sacrifice fly scored the game’s winning run two batters after Caleb Joseph’s leadoff double in the eighth inning.
Braves left fielder Eric Hinske homered off left-hander Zach Phillips in the top of the seventh, breaking a streak of 16 scoreless innings by Orioles pitching. Kevin Gregg, Darren O’Day, Pedro Strop, Miguel Socolovich and Troy Patton each threw scoreless inning for the Orioles.
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