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Gonzalez pitches brilliantly in Orioles 5-1 win


Gonzalez pitches brilliantly in Orioles 5-1 win

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. –- Before Saturday night’s game, Chris Davis had a special guest. Country singer Kacey Musgraves, who was giving a postgame concert at Tropicana Field is from the same area in Texas that Davis hails from chatted with him.

Davis had one of the bigger hits of the Orioles’ month when he connected on a fourth-inning grand slam, giving Miguel Gonzalez lots of breathing room on the way to a 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Rays before 24,327.

During Musgraves’ concert, she mentioned she visited with a player from the Orioles, drawing some boos from the crowd. “He did hit the grand slam,” she pointed out.

For one of the few times in recent weeks, the Orioles clubhouse was a jovial place.

Manager Buck Showalter said he was getting ready for the concert, too and concluded his postgame remarks by noting: “Right now, it’s all about Kacey Musgraves.”

Before Musgraves’ show, Gonzalez pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowing just one run on five hits, striking out five and walking one.

The win enabled the Orioles (47-49) to break their four-game losing streak.

Buck Showalter changed the lineup yet again as the Orioles used their 87th different lineup in 96 games. That’s the second most in baseball according to STATS LLC.

Showalter put David Lough in the leadoff spot against Erasmo Ramirez, who allowed just three hits in seven shutout innings against the Orioles on May 30.

Lough responded with a single to load the bases in the third ahead of Davis’ grand slam and an eighth inning triple. Lough was sliding into third when Logan Forsythe’s throw was wild, and he was able to score.

“I was pretty gassed coming around second. I'm not going to lie. I'm not used to running around the bases like that, but it was good. Once I saw the ball get away from third and I was able to score, it was a good feeling,” Lough said.

Ramirez (8-4) retired the first six Orioles. J.J. Hardy led off the third with a single. With one out, Jonathan Schoop singled, and Lough followed with another single to load the bases.

Chris Davis drilled his 22nd home run to right field, the fifth grand slam of his career, and the Orioles led 4-0.

“It was pretty big, especially with the way Miguel’s been throwing the ball against these guys. Everybody that inning did a great job of not trying to do too much, just taking what Ramirez gave them. And obviously with a full count and bases loaded, I know he’s not going to walk me, he’s not trying to walk me, so I just look for a pitch over the plate and I was able to put a good swing on it,” Davis said.

No runner reached third against Gonzalez (9-6) until Curt Casali hit a home run with one out in the eighth to cut the lead to 5-1.

“Coming into this game,the first couple innings I was getting hit hard but at guys who were making plays and I think that was the difference,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez was removed after 7 2/3 innings, allowing the run on five hits. He struck out five without walking a batter. It was his longest start since pitching eight against the Rays (49-50) on May 29. He has an 0.93 ERA in four starts against Tampa Bay this season and is 5-2 with a 1.92 ERA in eight career starts at Tropicana Field.

“He just stayed aggressive the whole game. I don’t think either team walked a hitter the whole game,” Showalter said. “Making them earn their way because they can force the issue on the bases and just trying to keep them out of part of the game they’re good at.”

Chaz Roe got the final four outs.

The Orioles scored more than three runs for just the third time in 14 games.

“It makes pitching a lot easier,” Showalter said. “We’ve got to create some margin of errors for our pitchers.”

Davis said he didn’t feel that the team was tight.

“I think it wasn’t necessarily pressure. I think it just allows you to focus and enjoy the game a little bit. You don’t feel like you’re grinding every at bat, every pitch. You just go out there and play the game and really have fun and enjoy it,” Davis said.

NOTES: It was the third grand slam for the Orioles this season. Schoop and Steve Pearce have the others. … Davis has nine home runs and 29 RBIs in 30 games at Tropicana Field. … Travis Snider is 2-for-27 without an RBI this month. … Wei-Yin Chen (4-6, 2.86) faces Matt Moore (1-1, 7.23) on Sunday at 1:10 p.m.

Related: Showalter doesn't want to hear 'buyers or sellers'

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

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Orioles agree to one-year deal with pitcher Chris Tillman, according to reports

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A person familiar with the negotiations says pitcher Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles have agreed to a $3 million, one-year contract.

The deal includes performance bonuses, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal had not yet been announced.

Tillman was 1-7 with a 7.84 ERA in 19 starts and five relief appearances last year. He would be the second starter added by the Orioles in the past week after right-hander Andrew Cashner.

Tillman likely would join right-handers Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Cashner in the rotation.

The 29-year-old right-hander lives in Sarasota and had been working out at the Orioles' facility before spring training. Manager Buck Showalter watched Tillman throw and was impressed.

Tillman began last season on the disabled list with right shoulder stiffness.

"Better than he did last year at this time. I think he's got the chance to pitch well for somebody this year," Showalter said. "A lot of the challenges he had last year -- this time last year -- aren't there. Somebody's going to reap the benefits."

Tillman's is 73-55 with a 4.43 ERA in nine major league seasons, all with the Orioles. He won 16 games in both 2013 and 2016.

"He's a guy when he's healthy you can bank on him giving you 200 innings and keeping his ERA between a 3 and a 4," Gausman said. "That in the AL East is always going to be very valuable."


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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

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Orioles Spring Training Schedule 2018

Live baseball is close to gracing our television screens again. The Orioles haven't had the most active offseason, to put it mildly. Fans are still wondering who will make up more than half the spots in this year's rotation, and Manny Machado's upcoming free agency is looming over every decision the organization makes.

Still, it's exciting to be able to follow the team again. Not every game is televised, so get ready to constantly refresh your favorite beat writer's Twitter account for all your updates.

Even without getting to watch the games, it'll be comforting to once again check box scores in the morning to see if Jonathan Schoop is building on his breakout season, or if top-prospect Austin Hays is all he's cracked up to be (spoiler: he is).

This year's spring training will be especially interesting, considering how many big-name players will be signing in the next few weeks. The O's haven't yet made a big splash this offseason, but with the sheer volume of capable players still on the market, you have to wonder if they'll try to sign some impact players at bargain values.

Typically, the excitement of adding a new piece to the lineup or rotation has to be reignited after a long winter off, but this season, those additions will be taking place while camp is already underway.

It's going to be a hectic few weeks as teams prepare for thier seasons, so bookmark this page to check on on the Orioles spring training schedule over the next few weeks as the team finally takes the field in 2018.

Orioles 2018 Spring Training Schedule

Friday, Feb. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Feb. 24 (SS) - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Feb. 25 - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Feb. 26 - Tigers at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Feb. 27 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Wednesday, Feb. 28 - Cardinals at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 1 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 2 - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 3 (SS) - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 4 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Tuesday, Mar. 6 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 7 - Orioles at Rays, 1:05 pm
Thursday, Mar. 8 - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 9 - Orioles at Blue Jays, 1:07 pm
Saturday, Mar. 10 (SS) - Pirates at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Orioles at Red Sox, 1:05 pm 
Sunday, Mar. 11 (SS) - Phillies at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Monday, Mar. 12 - Orioles at Pirates, 1:05 pm 
Tuesday, Mar. 13 - Orioles at Twins, 1:05 pm 
Wednesday, Mar. 14 - Yankees at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MLBN) (MASN)
Thursday, Mar. 15 - Orioles at Cardinals, 1:05 pm
Friday, Mar. 16 - Orioles at Mets, 1:10 pm 
Saturday, Mar. 17 (SS) - Blue Jays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 18 - Mets at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Monday, Mar. 19 - Orioles at Tigers, 1:05 pm
Tuesday, Mar. 20 - Rays at Orioles, 6:05 pm (MASN)
Wednesday, Mar. 21 - Orioles at Yankees, 6:35 pm 
Thursday, Mar. 22 - Red Sox at Orioles, 1:05 pm (MASN)
Friday, Mar. 23 (SS) - Rays at Orioles, 1:05 pm
Saturday, Mar. 24 - Twins at Orioles, 6:05 pm
Sunday, Mar. 25 - Orioles at Phillies, 1:05 pm 
Monday, Mar. 27 (in Norfolk, VA) - Orioles at Tides (AAA), 3:05 pm