Bats back Pineda's scoreless outing in win over Orioles
Gardner, Beltran pace offense; righty fans five over 2 2/3-inning start
TAMPA, Fla. -- Brett Gardner had two hits and two runs scored in the first two innings, and starter Michael Pineda pitched 2 2/3 shutout innings to pace the split-squad Yankees to a 6-0 Grapefruit League win over the Orioles on Thursday at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
Pineda, who didn't pitch in the big leagues the last two seasons following shoulder surgery, was making his first start of the spring. He showed flashes of dominance mixed with fits of inconsistency.
He struck out five, but also went to three-ball counts on five Baltimore hitters. One of the hits he allowed never left the infield, but two of his outs were hit hard, one of them a line drive right back to the mound. And another out came on an unusual play to end the first inning.
"The best thing is that my shoulder is feeling good and I can pitch and compete in the game," Pineda said.
The Orioles had runners on first and second with one out in the first, after back-to-back singles by Alex Gonzalez and Henry Urrutia, when first baseman Steve Pearce ripped a long drive to left. Alfonso Soriano ran back and snagged the ball, forcing the runners to scramble back to their bases.
After the play ended, the Yankees appealed, arguing that Urrutia had failed to re-touch second base after rounding the bag. Second-base umpire Mark Wegner agreed, calling the runner out. A television replay appeared to show that Urrutia had indeed missed the base, even though he took only one step beyond it before reversing his field.
Right-hander Bud Norris, projected to be the Orioles' fifth starter, lasted just 1 2/3 innings before reaching his pitch limit of 60. He gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks, and found himself trying to pitch out of trouble during his entire stint.
Gardner led off in the first with an infield hit and, running on the pitch, advanced on a grounder to third before scoring when Carlos Beltran lined a single to right. For Beltran, it was his first hit of the spring that wasn't a home run. Norris then walked Brian McCann and Soriano to load the bases with one out.
Norris escaped without further damage by getting Eduardo Nunez to pop up and Dean Anna to ground out, but was right back in a jam in the second when Zoilo Almonte led off with a double to left. Gardner doubled Almonte home with one out, and then scored the third run after a misplay on Derek Jeter's grounder back to the mound.
Norris had plenty of time to nail Gardner at third, but he threw the ball into foul territory down the left-field line, allowing Gardner to come home. Of Norris' 60 pitches, only 35 were for strikes.
"I felt good. That was the No. 1 thing," Norris said." To go out there and compete. I didn't feel that I was that wild, [I felt] that I threw competitive pitches that were pretty close. I just felt like I was close to the corners, but just not quite getting them."
New York tacked on a run off Orioles reliever Kevin Gausman in the fifth when McCann led off with a walk, went to second on a wild pitch and then scored on Soriano's base hit up the middle.
The Yankees are 8-6-2 this spring. The Orioles fell to 9-5.
Up next: David Phelps takes his turn in the rotation when the Yankees meet the Twins on Friday at 1:05 p.m. ET. The game can be seen live on MLB.TV.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.