Spain keeps hits coming in final exhibition game
Classic squad does its part against Baltimore pitching despite O's big frame
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Wednesday's numbers don't count toward the Orioles' Grapefruit League statistics, but Russ Canzler must wish they did.
Canzler crushed two homers and drove in six runs behind rotation hopefuls Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton as Baltimore cruised to a 19-7 win over Team Spain at Ed Smith Stadium on Wednesday.
In Spain's last exhibition game before heading off to the World Baseball Classic's Pool C in Puerto Rico, the Orioles trotted out a lineup of mostly bench players and Minor Leaguers behind two pitchers, Arrieta and Britton, hoping to crack the Major League club's starting rotation.
Arrieta got the start and gave up an unearned run on three hits and a walk while striking out two over three innings.
"Sometimes, throughout the week before a start, a light bulb will go off," Arrieta said. "Whether it's something small mechanically in the bullpen or something you are doing on a certain pitch to kind of help you progress and be more consistent with that pitch. And that's happened over the past couple bullpens. I've had two real good sides leading into this game.
"So things are really starting to tighten up. I pulled a couple fastballs today, but for me, the biggest adjustment is making the adjustment to the next pitch. You know, making the correction. And doing that is something I'm more comfortable with, more confident with. And just need to keep moving forward."
Britton came on in relief and gave up three runs in two innings on four hits, a walk and two wild pitches. Pitching between those two, right-handed reliever Luis Ayala made his unexpected Spring Training debut by tossing a scoreless fourth inning.
The Orioles built up an early lead on Canzler's three-run shot to left field off Spain's starter, left-hander Richard Salazar, a former Orioles farmhand from 2001-07. Baltimore managed five runs on six hits and two walks against Salazar, who lasted 1 1/3 innings.
Baltimore extended its lead in the second inning, when first baseman Steve Pearce drove in catcher Jose Gil with an RBI single and Canzler plated Nolan Reimold with a sacrifice fly to left field. Canzler hit another homer in the fourth inning, a two-run shot to left field off lefty Ricardo Hernandez.
But Spain got on the board in the third inning. Rangers prospect Engel Beltre knocked a leadoff line drive to center that Baltimore's L.J. Hoes couldn't reel in. The play was ruled an error on Hoes, but Beltre turned it into a three-base mistake, wheeling all the way around to third and scoring on Paco Figueroa's groundout.
In the sixth, the O's put a nine-spot on the board, highlighted by Travis Ishikawa's blast, adding to their cushion.
Up next: Having wrapped up its slate of exhibitions in Florida, Team Spain will head to Puerto Rico for its World Baseball Classic debut. Spain will practice Thursday at Hiram Bithorn Stadium in San Juan, then take the field Friday against Puerto Rico. Spain, the clear underdog in a loaded Pool C field, will face the Dominican Republic on Saturday and Venezuela on Sunday.