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Norris gives up four home runs in 8-1 loss


Norris gives up four home runs in 8-1 loss

BALTIMORE –- It’s an understatement to say that Monday night was not Bud Norris’ best. For the second time in his career, Norris allowed four home runs, after more than three weeks of superlative play, the Orioles suffered a lopsided defeat.

Norris’ home runs accounted for five runs as the Orioles lost to the Texas Rangers 8-1 before 21,565 at Oriole Park.

After Sunday’s doubleheader, and just six pitchers in the bullpen, manager Buck Showalter wanted six innings out of Norris, and he made his way through them, and left trailing 5-1.

Tommy Hunter allowed a three-run triple to Joey Gallo in the seventh to enable Texas (39-38) to pull away.

Norris (2-7) has lost three straight and won just once in his last seven starts dating to Apr. 26. He missed four weeks due to bronchitis.

“Three of the homers were on breaking balls and one changeup. Just bad pitches. It’s hard to go out there and pitch with just fastballs. I tried to battle through it, I feel like I’ve been throwing the ball a lot better as of late. I feel a lot better coming off my sickness and everything else, really just trying to turn the ship,” Norris said.

The Orioles (41-36) had gone 19-5 since June 4.

Norris (2-7) equaled his career high with the four homers. Mitch Moreland hit two, one of them a two-run shot. Carlos Corporan and Shin-Soo Choo added solo shots.

“Bud's had some tough losses when he's pitched well. You get opportunities, and some of the challenges have been self-inflicted and he's got to figure it out. Opportunities, they're always going to be there for the most part when you have a track record like him, but he understands the competitive part of it and nobody wants to do it more than Bud,” Showalter said.

Last year, Norris won a career-high 15 games. This year, it’s much different.

“I’m not a first-half guy, I hope I’m a second-half guy. I know what I did for this team last year in the second half and I just want to get back to that guy,” Norris said. “A couple pitches here and there, if I find my slider I feel like I’m a lot more in-tune with the game. I wasn’t that far off.”

The last time the Orioles faced Wandy Rodriguez in May 2014, he didn’t get out of the second inning, and the Pittsburgh Pirates let him go a day later.

He allowed one run on eight hits in five-plus innings.

The normally mild-mannered Steve Pearce showed his displeasure with home plate umpire John Hirschbeck by hopping up and down and tossing his helmet like a Frisbee when he was called out on strikes in the fourth.

Both sides were annoyed with Hirschbeck, who tangled with Norris during a spring training start. In the fifth, Rodriguez’s catcher, Corporan and Hirschbeck growled at each other about the strike zone, and so did pitching coach Mike Maddux. After Maddux stayed at the mound for an extraordinarily long time, Hirschbeck walked to end the summit, but Maddux refused to budge.

Finally he did, and the two exchanged ideas as they walked off.

When Rodriguez walked to the mound to start the sixth, he stopped by to chat with Hirschbeck, covered his mouth with his glove, talked for a few moments, and moved on.

In the fifth, the Orioles (41-36) had their best opportunity when Caleb Joseph singled with one out, Manny Machado followed with a base hit to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, and Nolan Reimold walked.

Adam Jones singled to score Joseph, but Chris Davis struck out and Delmon Young flied to right.

Norris allowed five runs on nine hits in six innings.

Spencer Patton relieved Rodriguez (5-3) in the sixth. Patton, Keone Kela, Tanner Scheppers and Sam Freeman each pitched a scoreless inning.

Joseph thinks that Norris isn’t far away from being the pitcher of 2014 again.

“He looks good to me. I know sometimes he feels a little out of whack and it’s a long, enduring season, and we all feel out of whack at some point. I remember times last year when we felt out of whack as well,” Joseph said

“He’s a proven major league pitcher in this league. He’s a great pitcher. He pitched a lot of meaningful games for us last year. I mean, the game he pitched against Detroit in the playoffs, there’s nothing better than that. We know he’s that type of guy. We know he’s that pitcher. It’s one start for him. I know it seems like it snowballed, but he’s going to back on the horse, and we’re going to need him this year.”

COMING UP: Colby Lewis (7-3, 4.10) faces Miguel Gonzalez (6-4, 3.58) on Tuesday night.

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Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

USA Today Sports

Orioles round out starting pitching rotation, finalize 4-year contract with Alex Cobb

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Alex Cobb's comfort and familiarity with the AL East was the deciding factor in his decision to sign with the Baltimore Orioles.

"They used the AL East and the success I've had in it to their advantage," the 30-year-old right-hander said Wednesday after finalizing a $57 million, four-year contract. "They kept challenging me with it and I love the challenge of pitching in this division and they know that over the times we talked. They did a really good job of making me feel like this is where I need to be."

Cobb gets $14 million in each of the first three seasons and $15 million in 2021, and he would earn a $500,000 bonus in each year he pitches 180 innings. Baltimore will defer $6.5 million from this year's salary and $4.5 million in each of the next three seasons.

He gets $2 million of the deferred money on Nov. 30, 2022, and $1.8 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2023-32. If he doesn't pitch at least 130 innings in 2020, an additional $5.25 million of the final's year salary would get deferred, payable $1.75 million annually on Nov. 30 from 2033-35.


Cobb has a full no-trade this year, then can list 10 teams from 2019-21 that he cannot be dealt to without his consent.

He had spent his entire six-season big league career with Tampa Bay and was the last big-name starting pitcher available in a slow-moving free agent market. He joined Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman, who were signed last month, in a revamped rotation that includes holdovers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

Cobb was 12-10 with a 3.66 ERA in 29 starts last season. He pitched 179 1/3 innings in his first full year back after missing nearly two seasons because of Tommy John surgery.

He had turned down the Rays' $17.4 million qualifying offer in November, and Baltimore pursued him from the start of free agency.

"They didn't stop bothering me the whole offseason," Cobb said. "They were very persistent, and I think that you notice that confidence they have in you just by the way they speak to you and the questions you ask and not questioning anything that's gone on. Everyone's got flaws that they come with and potential things you could really harp on that might not be your strong suit, but they never went down that avenue. They always told me how much they like certain aspects of what I do on and off the field, and just kept repeating how well I fit in here."


Cobb is 48-35 with a 3.50 in six big league seasons. Baltimore will lose its third-highest draft pick, currently No. 51, and the Rays get an extra selection after the first round as compensation.

Jose Mesa Jr. was designated for assignment Wednesday to clear a roster spot.

Baltimore opens on March 29 at home against Minnesota, but Cobb won't be ready to pitch then. He has agreed to be optioned to a minor league affiliate to help build up innings.

"I'm going to be pushing it as quick as I can," Cobb said. "That's going to be up to them. They've invested in me for a four-year period and as much as we know how much every game matters even early in April, we're going to have to look out for the overall future of this whole thing and whole contract and whatever they determine to be the way to protect me and my feedback from the bullpens I'm going to be throwing here in the next few days will probably determine the timeline."

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

USA Today Sports

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."