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Urrutia eager to prove he finally belongs with Orioles

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Urrutia eager to prove he finally belongs with Orioles

SARASOTA, Fla. – Henry Urrutia wasn’t a part of the Orioles minicamp. He lives in Sarasota and uses the facility as his home base.

Urrutia, who came to the U.S. less than three years ago, will be 29 just before spring training begins next month, and he thinks this is a big year for him.

He was in Venezuela playing winter ball, and after a break, has resumed workouts.

“I’m very proud of myself, doing my job last year in the minors and in the big leagues. I have to get a chance this year, many more at-bats in spring training,” Urrutia said.

Last year, in his second stint in the big leagues, Urrutia hit .265 in 10 games.

“Wherever they want, they know I can play right field, I can play left field. I’m real excited now that I can show them that I can play the outfield. I can throw to the bases and I can do my stuff back there. I really need to get a chance to prove what I can do on the field. I think they know what I can do with my bat,” Urrutia said.

Last month, Urrutia, who defected from Cuba in 2012, returned there for the first time since. At the time of his defection, Urrutia was under suspension in Cuba for an earlier unsuccessful defection. Normally, he would have had to wait eight years to visit.

“It’s amazing how people know about your job here. They never forget you. Everybody has cellphones with my video,” Urrutia said.

“It’s pretty good to know that people are still supporting you in another country. [Cuba] doesn’t have internet like us or TVs to see major league games every day.”

Urrutia, who has two brothers and two sisters in Cuba, spent the week with his family.

“I can’t explain it. I was crying for the first 15, 20 minutes,” Urrutia said.

Four years after last seeing his family, Urrutia was amazed at how much his four young nieces have grown.

“It’s hard because you miss time with your family. I lost a long time. I feel happy to be there to be happy for a week. It’s too short, but it was awesome.”

Urrutia has to wait two more years to return to Cuba. He is a U.S. resident, and can become a citizen in two more years, something that he’s looking forward to.

“This country now is my home. I feel great here. I feel happy to be here. I have a lot of people here supporting my career. Also I have a lot of friends,” Urrutia said.

RELATED: Orioles encouraged by Bundy, Harvey in minicamp

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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."

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Orioles lose to Blue Jays in late-inning thriller

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USA TODAY Sports

Orioles lose to Blue Jays in late-inning thriller

BALTIMORE — Aaron Sanchez lost his no-hit bid when Baltimore's Tim Beckham led off the eighth inning with a sharp grounder through the legs of third baseman Josh Donaldson, and Curtis Granderson hit a tiebreaking homer in the ninth to carry the Toronto Blue Jays over the Orioles 2-1 on Tuesday night.

Seeking to throw the second no-hitter in Blue Jays history, Sanchez walked four and hit a batter before it all came apart. After Beckham's double, Anthony Santander singled to right and rookie Chance Sisco followed with an RBI double to make it 1-all.

Sanchez (1-1) got the victory, though, when Granderson hit a sidearmed fastball from Darren O'Day (0-1) over the right-field scoreboard. It was his first homer since signing as a free agent with Toronto this past offseason.

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Roberto Osuna got three straight outs for his fifth save. He became the youngest player in major league history (23 years, 62 days) with career 100 saves.

Orioles starter Andrew Cashner pitched seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and three walks. He struck out six.

On almost any other night, that would have been good enough to get the win. But Cashner -- making his third start with Baltimore after signing as a free agent in February -- had to settle for matching zeroes with Sanchez.

The Blue Jays broke up the scoreless duel in the eighth with an unearned run on a throwing error by Santander on a single to right by Yangervis Solarte.

Toronto's defense helped keep the no-hitter in the early innings. Right fielder Steve Pearce and center fielder Kevin Pillar made leaping catches on deep fly balls, and second baseman Devon Travis raced into the outfield to snag a fifth-inning blooper by Beckham.

Until the eighth, Sanchez was in the running to join Dave Stieb as the only pitchers to throw no-hitters for Toronto. Stieb beat Cleveland on Sept. 2, 1990.