Martin Continues Torrid Spring Training Run
BRADENTON, Fla. (AP) – Russell Martin hit his fourth home run of a torrid spring training Monday, but Steve Pearce and Michael Almanzar each hit two-run homers to lead the Baltimore Orioles to a 7-6 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Martin singled and hit a two-run drive off Orioles starter Chris Tillman.
In six games this spring, Martin is 8 for 15 with nine RBIs.
He did not hit a home run in three of his previous four spring trainings with the Pirates, New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.
“It’s really just (about) hitting the mistakes, staying aggressive, seeing the ball well and trusting myself up there,” Martin said.
“I’m not taking pitches. I’m aggressive until the pitch tells me not to swing.”
Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen extended his hitting streak to six games with a first-inning single. He is 10 for 17 this spring.
Steve Clevenger hit a solo home run off Pirates starter Jay Jackson.
Tillman worked 3 1-3 innings and allowed five runs on five hits. He struck out four and hit a batter.
“Two areas where I would’ve liked to have been better are first-pitch strikes and two-strike approach,” Tillman said. “I left the ball up with two strikes and (allowed) two hits.”
Orioles: Tillman made his longest outing of the spring. He also allowed nearly twice as many runs (five) as he had in his first two starts combined (three). “As long as I feel I executed the pitch well, physically felt well, that’s all that really matters,” Tillman said. “I feel great, and I think that’s all that matters right now.”
Pirates: Jackson, a right-hander, started in place of lefty Jeff Locke, who’s nursing a sore oblique. Jackson worked two innings and allowed one run on two hits and a walk. A non-roster invitee, Jackson likely will begin the season at Triple-A Indianapolis. “As long as they keep giving me the ball, I’m getting a chance,” Jackson said. “As long as I get a chance, I’m going to take advantage of it.”
Pirates: Right-hander Phil Irwin threw batting practice for the first time Monday. Irwin, who will start the season at Triple-A Indianapolis, missed about a week due to a sore elbow.
Orioles: Xavier Paul left the game after being hit by a pitch on the right hand. His injury did not appear to be serious, but Paul was slated to have X-rays just in case. … Infielder Alexi Casilla tested his sore right hamstring by running Monday morning in camp, but was not cleared to play against the Pirates. There’s a chance he could play Tuesday against the Boston Red Sox. … Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez will start against the Red Sox. It will be his game since being hit on left leg by a line drive Friday.
Pirates: Top pitcher prospect Jameson Taillon was among six players sent back to minor league camp. Taillon, the second overall draft pick in 2010, will begin the season with Triple-A Indianapolis.
Infielder Matt Hague and catcher Carlos Paulino also were reassigned to minor league camp. Right-hander Casey Sadler was optioned to Indianapolis. Infielder Alen Hanson and left-hander Joely Rodriguez were optioned to Double-A Altoona.
“It’s never fun (to be cut), but I’ve got to go down and get innings,” Taillon said. “It was fun to get some innings here. But, the reality of it is I’ve got to get built up and there’s not enough innings to go around.”
Taillon pitched a total of 2 2-3 innings in two Grapefruit League games. He had a 3.38 ERA, and allowed four hits and one walk. A blister on one of the fingers of his pitching hand kept him from making another appearance before being sent to the minors.
Orioles: Catcher Michael Ohlman and right-hander Tim Berry were optioned to Double-A Bowie. Catcher Brian Ward was reassigned to minor league camp. “(Berry) was really sharp last time out,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s confident and throwing the ball well. It’s very intriguing, what the future may hold for him. I think he’s got a chance to really pop this year.”
DEPARTING FOR AN ARRIVAL
Orioles outfielder Adam Jones will leave camp Tuesday to be with his wife for the birth of their child. “Right now, the plan is for him to play in the game (against Boston) and then leave, but that could change,” Showalter said. “It depends on the flight schedule.”