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Healthy Schoop homers, hopes for powerful year


Healthy Schoop homers, hopes for powerful year

SARASOTA, Fla. – The Orioles are expecting Jonathan Schoop to have a huge 2016. Last year, Schoop missed nearly half the season with a right knee injury, and still managed to hit 15 home runs.

Schoop hit his third home run of the spring on Thursday as the Orioles edged the Pittsburgh Pirates 6-5 before 7,902 at Ed Smith Stadium.

The Orioles are now 6-14-4, but needed a pinch hit single from Rule 5 wunderkind Joey Rickard in the ninth inning to win it.

Rickard is now batting .388.

Schoop had two hits and he’s batting .370, but he’s not worried about the Orioles.

“The team is fine. The team is really good. We scuffled a little bit, the first two weeks of spring training, but we’re good,” Schoop said.

Schoop hopes he can join the Orioles’ parade of sluggers who have hit at least 30 home runs in a season.

Pedro Alvarez, Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones and Mark Trumbo have hit at least 30 in a season.

“It’s possible. They’ve done it already. I haven’t done it yet. I feel I can do it,” Schoop said.

The Orioles wanted to make sure Schoop worked hard to rehab his injured leg, and he did.

“I’m happy because I’m healthy. I feel great, getting my at-bats in and trying to get good at-bats, and trying to get ready for the season.”

RELATED: Britton thrives in major or minor league surroundings

Manager Buck Showalter thinks Schoop is in great shape.

“Not a whole lot different. He was pretty good last year. He’s maintained where he was. Jon’s a well-conditioned guy. [Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson] was telling me if you guys through cardio stuff, Jon would be right at the top. Jon is primed and ready to go,” Showalter said.

Trumbo hit his fourth home run of the spring, a two-run shot and Hardy hit his first, to straightaway center field in the seventh.

Schoop and Trumbo’s homers were hit off Pittsburgh starter Jonathon Niese, who worked six innings, and Hardy’s off former Orioles reliever Jorge Rondon.

The Orioles had a 5-2 lead heading into the eighth, but Darren O’Day, who’s had a rough spring, allowed three runs.

O’Day has given up seven runs in six innings for a 10.50 ERA. He and Britton both worked on consecutive days for the first time. Britton struck out all three batters he faced in the seventh, but O’Day gave up two hits and walked one while registering two outs.

Showalter said he’s not worried about the veteran, who signed a four-year, $31 million extension in December.

“Just second day, some pitches up. Nothing really that hard. Just a bunch of singles. Some deep counts. Nothing that I’m concerned about,” Showalter said.

Britton has allowed one run on three hits in seven innings. He’s struck out 11 and walked two.

“I’m trying not to get into relax mode but at the same time, still working on stuff. That way, I’m sharp right from opening day on. I think that’s my biggest goal last year, I feel like I wasn’t as sharp early in the year as I wanted to be. This year, I said: ‘Heck, I’m going to get ready as soon as I can,’” Britton said.

Showalter has been thrilled with how well Britton has pitched this spring.

“He was looking forward to today. Sometimes that second day is better than the first day as a reliever. It’s more of a reminder how this role has really fit him in all ways,” Showalter said.

Tyler Wilson started and was lifted after three innings. He allowed a home run to Matt Joyce in the first inning.

Wilson remains a contender to start the season with the Orioles if Kevin Gausman begins the season on the disabled list.

The cerebral Wilson allowed 13 hits in 12 1/3 innings, but allowed just four earned runs for an ERA of 2.92.

If you go smooth sailing through 15 innings in spring training, and then all of a sudden the first inning on Opening Day, you’ve got men on first and second with nobody out, how do you manage the game? That’s the ultimate goal in pitching. How do you get outs?” Wilson said.

NOTES: The Orioles acquired minor league left-handed pitcher Edgar Olmos from the Chicago Cubs for a player to be named later. Olmos, who was with the Orioles for 13 days in December, is 1-1 with a 5.21 ERA in 11 games with Miami and Seattle in 2013 and 2015. He’s the second left-hander acquired by the team in the last two days. Zach Phillips was signed on Tuesday. Olmos reports to minor league camp.

-Chris Tillman will pitch against the New York Yankees’ Ivan Nova on Friday. Yovani Gallardo pitches against Boston’s Clay Buchholz in Sarasota on Saturday.

MORE ORIOLES: Janish showing signs of power with Orioles

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Orioles pitching falls apart as Tigers complete sweep in Detroit

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Orioles pitching falls apart as Tigers complete sweep in Detroit

DETROIT - Leonys Martin hit his first big league grand slam, Jeimer Candelario had four hits and three RBIs, and the Detroit Tigers beat Baltimore 13-8 Thursday to extend the Orioles' losing streak to six.

Jordan Zimmermann (1-0) gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, allowing two home runs to Manny Machado and one to Chris Davis. Zimmermann was pitching for the first time since being hit in the jaw by a line drove off the bat of Cleveland's Jason Kipnis on April 11.

Alex Cobb (0-2) made his second start after signing a $57 million, four-year contract in spring training and his ERA rose to 15.43. He allowed seven runs - five earned - and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Machado had four RBIs for the Orioles, who were outhit 18-14 in the game and outscored 23-15 in the three-game sweep.

Victor Martinez hit an RBI single in the first, but Davis put Baltimore ahead with a two-run homer in the second, his sixth hit and fourth homer in 10 career at-bats against Zimmermann.

Detroit went ahead for good with four runs in the bottom half after third baseman Tim Beckham's throwing error allowed James McCann to reach base leading off. Jose Iglesias hit a two-run triple, Miguel Cabrera had an RBI single and Nick Castellanos a run-scoring groundout.

Machado's homer in the third cut Baltimore's deficit to 5-2, but Candelario's two-run homer extended the lead to 7-2 in the bottom half. Martin homered off Mike Wright Jr. in a five-run fifth.

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Orioles fall in Detroit after wild 8th and 9th innings

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Orioles fall in Detroit after wild 8th and 9th innings

DETROIT -- Dixon Machado came to the plate with only one big league homer to his name, but the way this game was going, anything seemed possible.

"Walking to the plate I was thinking, `What if I hit a homer right here?'" the Detroit infielder said. "He threw me a fastball away but when he came in with a pitch I was ready for it and I just hit it hard."

Machado led off the bottom of the ninth with a home run , capping a wild final two innings and lifting the Tigers over the Baltimore Orioles 6-5 on Wednesday. Detroit led 2-1 before each team scored three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth.

Baltimore's Luis Sardinas tied it with a solo shot off Shane Greene (1-0) in the top of the ninth, but then the 26-year-old Machado hit a line drive off Pedro Araujo (1-2) that cleared the fence in left field. It was his second homer in 299 big league at-bats.

The game was moved from 6:40 p.m. to 1:10 p.m. in anticipation of bad weather. Although it was a sparse crowd, to say the least , the sun did come out, and those fans in attendance were treated to quite a few homers.

Miguel Cabrera went deep on his 35th birthday, and Jeimer Candelario and John Hicks also homered for Detroit. Hicks hit a three-run shot in the eighth that put the Tigers up 5-4.

Danny Valencia hit a solo homer for the Orioles, who have lost five straight.

Detroit's Matthew Boyd allowed a run, two hits and three walks in 6 1/3 innings, striking out six. Baltimore's Kevin Gausman allowed two runs and nine hits in six-plus innings.

Cabrera's solo homer put the Tigers up 2-1 in the sixth, but Manny Machado and Chris Davis hit RBI singles as part of a three-run rally by Baltimore in the eighth. The drive by Davis was nearly a home run, but it hit the wall and stayed in play.

"There were obviously a couple bad breaks -- our ball hits the top of the fence and comes back and their ball goes over -- but there were four or five breaks we got during the game on bounces or pitch calls," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "If you lose focus and start feeling sorry for yourselves, every team you play is going to take advantage and step on your throat."