SARASOTA, Fla. – Yovani Gallardo watched three home runs sail out of Ed Smith Stadium. Tyler Goeddel hit his third pitch of the game out, and two batters later, spring training home run leader Makiel Franco hit one, and two innings later, another one, a three-run shot.
By the time Gallardo left with game, a batter after Franco’s second home run, the Orioles were trailing 5-0, but ended up with an 8-7 win over the Philadelphia Phillies before 7,909 overheated fans on Monday.
Paul Janish’s two-run single in the eighth inning gave the Orioles their second win in three games, putting their record at 2-11-2.
Even though they gave up seven runs, they managed to reduce their team ERA slightly from 7.28 to 7.26—by far the worst in baseball.
The best news of the day came from the MRI orthopedic surgeon Dr. Leigh Ann Curl performed on Matt Wieters’ sore right elbow.
“It looked good," Showalter said. "Dr. Curl, she's been with us a long time, said it looked good structurally, so that was encouraging. Just get some of whatever's left in there, the soreness, but pretty positive. I know Matt felt good about it today."
Gallardo made his second start since signing. Both have come against the Phillies, and he’s allowed four home runs. Overall, Gallardo has given up eight runs on eight hits in 4 1/3 innings.
“It’s just tough. It’s one of those things, I’m not trying to say that it’s easier for a hitter to prepare, but I think for a hitter, once you get that timing down, it seems like you can ask any hitter. Once you get that, they feel comfortable with it. For a starting pitcher, pitcher in general, it’s going out there for an inning, coming back, sitting down. Back and forth until your 90-pitch pitch count. The thing about it too is if you look at it, you haven’t pitched in a game in like six months,” Gallardo said.
Gallardo could be the Orioles’ No. 2 starter, and it will be interesting to see if Showalter will allow him to face Tampa Bay on Saturday.
Showalter often likes to limit his pitcher’s exposure to teams they might be facing regularly and early season opponents.
On Thursday when the Orioles are playing the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins in a split-squad doubleheader, Vance Worley and Mike Wright, two pitchers not projected among the first five will be the starters. Ubaldo Jimenez, who faced the Twins in his last two starts, will be pitching in a Triple-A game at Twin Lakes Park.
Gallardo, who has been with Milwaukee and Texas, is training in Florida for the first time.
“The most important thing is feeling comfortable, thinking your rhythm and your mechanics are right. It takes time. That’s why you see a lot of guys who are out there. It’s frustrating for sure, but when you see a lot of guys going out there struggling with their command a little bit or the mechanics aren’t right, it’s tough. You’re facing big league hitters and you’re trying to get yourself ready with your mechanics. The most important thing is try not to get frustrated. It is tough, but you’ve just got to remember it’s spring and you’ve got a long ways to go.”
Manny Machado had a two-run home run, Adam Jones a solo shot.
Hyun Soo Kim and Joey Rickard, who have the most at-bats on the team, were given the day off. Mark Trumbo played right field, and Pedro Alvarez, who was hitless in three at-bats, was the designated hitter.
Alvarez will play at Dunedin on Tuesday against Toronto, Showalter indicated.
NOTES: Last year’s Rule 5 draft choice Jason Garcia was optioned to Double-A Bowie.
"We're all excited about that," Showalter said. "He's going to get ready to be a starter. This guy basically skipped full-season A last year. He just happened to spend it in Baltimore all summer, and that was the idea. We're going to give Jason the ball every fifth day with a work day."
Outfielder Henry Urrutia was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. Earlier in the day, left-hander Chris Jones was also optioned to the Tides and Hunter Harvey was reassigned to minor league camp. There are 47 players remaining.
-The Orioles recorded their fifth sellout of the spring. … Chris Tillman makes his first start of the spring in Dunedin on Tuesday against Toronto’s Jesse Chavez.
-Former Oriole pitcher Steve Johnson was released by Texas.
MORE ORIOLES: MRI on Orioles C Matt Wieters' elbow scheduled