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Orioles can't keep up with Houston's offense


Orioles can't keep up with Houston's offense

BALTIMORE -- The Houston Astros gasped, watched in dismay and jumped for joy in the span of a few minutes.

When the unusual sequence of events was complete, the American League's best ballclub was well on its way to another victory.

Marwin Gonzalez stepped in for injured Colin Moran and delivered a pinch-hit, three-run homer in the sixth inning to propel Houston past the Baltimore Orioles 8-4 on Saturday night.

Moran fouled a ball off his left eye and had difficulty standing before being carted from the field with a towel pressed against his bloody face.

"It was a pretty scary incident," manager A.J. Hinch said. "I go on the field and he's got blood on the face. Blood, it isn't generally seen in our sport."

Moran was taken to a hospital, where he was "evaluated for everything from a concussion to a fracture," Hinch said, adding that he expected the rookie to land on the disabled list.

After play resumed, Gonzalez ended a nine-pitch at-bat by driving a 2-2 offering from Darren O'Day (1-3) over the right-field wall and onto Eutaw Street. It was Houston's first pinch-hit homer of the season, and it capped a five-run uprising that wiped out Baltimore's 4-1 lead.

"The range of emotions goes to extreme thrill, for Marwin to come off the bench and work an at-bat," Hinch said.

As he headed to the plate, Gonzalez knew he had to turn his attention toward getting a hit off O'Day.

"That was a scary moment for us," Gonzalez said. "I just focused to have a good at-bat, but I got a homer and that was even better for the team."

O'Day also experienced an array of emotions -- from bad to worse.

"I've had good friends who've had accidents like that and never knew if they were going to play again or didn't get to play again, so I hope he's OK," the pitcher said. "But as a professional you've got to try and block that out."

Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel homered for the Astros, who will seek to complete a three-game sweep on Sunday. Houston has won eight straight over the Orioles spanning two seasons.

Astros right-hander Collin McHugh allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings in his season debut and Francis Martes (3-0) pitched 2 1/3 innings of hitless relief.

McHugh went 19-7 in 2015 and 13-10 last year before being diagnosed with right shoulder tendinitis at spring training. He was shut down after one inning in a rehab start for Triple-A Fresno on April 6, returned to the mound on June 30 and pitched in four games with Double-A Corpus Christi before being activated Saturday.

McHugh showed no ill effects from the layoff -- until the fifth inning. After issuing a leadoff walk to Seth Smith, he got two quick outs before it started to rain. An instant later, Adam Jones drove a 2-0 pitch into the left-field seats.

Manny Machado followed with a single and Jonathan Schoop chased McHugh with a shot that wasted no time clearing the left-field wall.

Gurriel shaved the margin with a two-run drive off Chris Tillman in the sixth, and Gonzalez completed the comeback.

"He fouled off some good pitches until he got a bad one," O'Day said.

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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