SARASOTA, Fla. – For the second straight day, the Orioles received a subpar pitching performance from a starter and a huge offensive output.
Yovani Gallardo struggled into the fourth inning, giving up seven runs while the Orioles had 20 hits in their 16-8 win over the Boston Red Sox before a sun-soaked crowd of 8,518 at Ed Smith Stadium on Saturday.
For the third straight game, J.J. Hardy hit a home run, and Manny Machado hit one for the second consecutive game. Chris Davis, who hadn’t homered since his first at-bat in the Orioles’ spring home opener on Mar. 2, followed Machado’s homer with his own.
Audry Perez, a catcher likely returning to Triple-A Norfolk, had a three-run home run and four RBIs, and Mark Trumbo drove in three while Adam Jones had three hits.
Gallardo’s spring ERA ballooned to 16.88 as he gave up five runs in Boston’s second.
“You can look at every spring training I’ve had throughout my career and I think it’s…they’ve been bad. It’s a good they don’t count for your career. It’s one of those things. At the end of the day, no matter what you have to do, you’re here to work on things,” Gallardo said.
Manager Buck Showalter wasn’t displeased with Gallardo, who didn’t sign until late last month. Gallardo will probably start the final game in Sarasota, on Thursday against Atlanta. Showalter said he’s not looking for big things until early next month.
“In April I am. That’s when the results count,” Showalter said.
One player the Orioles probably won’t be seeing next month is Christian Walker, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
Walker’s path to first base is blocked by Chris Davis, and he’ll be going to the Tides to play left field every day.
He played there twice without incident this spring, and the Orioles want to see if he can play there in the major leagues.
Showalter said his play in left wasn’t an eye-opener.
“No. He kept them open. They were already open. Christian’s got a track record,” Showalter said. “He can do this.”
Walker had four homers and 14 RBIs early in camp, but slumped in recent days to finish with a .227 average, was the team’s organizational player of the year in 2014.
“Obviously, the sample size is very short, and it is learning a new position regardless of how quickly I can learn something or pick something up, so I’m going to take my time with it and get the reps I need. Whenever anything’s good and ready, it will be my time,” Walker said.
Hardy is hitting .333 and his spring has delighted Showalter.
"It's been evident to me since the first probably week of spring training, just him moving around and just the body language, everything when you know J.J. as well as we do,” Showalter said.
“People forget this is a shortstop capable of hitting 20-30 home runs and hitting .270 when healthy."
The Orioles skipped Gallardo’ first start because of his late signing, and in his first two, both against Philadelphia, the Phillies scored eight runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Seven days before, Gallardo was supposed to start at Port Charlotte against Tampa Bay, but it was rained out after the Orioles made two outs in the first.
A minor league start was hastily arranged for Monday.
“It was a little crazy, but it shows the most important thing is the pitch count, to get the pitch count up,” Gallardo said. “And make sure I didn’t miss that start. Otherwise, I would have been falling behind like I was earlier in the camp.”
NOTES: The Orioles play Pittsburgh at Bradenton on Sunday night. Ubaldo Jimenez will face Trevor Williams. … The team still has 43 players in camp. … The Orioles spring record is 8-14-4. They’re 6-4-2 at home and 2-10-10 on the road.