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Bedard excels in penultimate spring outing

Bedard excels in penultimate spring outing

Bedard excels in penultimate spring outing
BRADENTON, Fla. -- Tommy Hunter pitched one-hit ball for six innings, and Mark Reynolds' bloop RBI single in the seventh broke up a pitchers' duel with Erik Bedard as the Orioles edged the Pirates, 4-1, on Monday night.

Reynolds' hit scored Matt Wieters, who had led off the inning with a double for his second hit of the game. Baltimore added another run later in the inning on a throwing error by Pittsburgh third baseman Pedro Alvarez, who also struck out in his first two at-bats, and has not registered a hit in his last 16 at-bats.

Neil Walker's double into a strong wind with two outs in the fourth was Pittsburgh's lone hit off of Hunter. Center fielder Adam Jones broke back on the ball on contact, but it dropped in front of him for the two-bagger.

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Hunter issued one walk -- to the game's first batter, Alex Presley -- and struck out five. "l definitely [have] something to work on from here," said Hunter, who allowed two runs over five innings last Wednesday, and finished up Monday's outing with 15 additional fastballs in the bullpen. "It was definitely fun. This was baseball, going out for six innings and still having something left."

The Bucs broke through against Jim Johnson in the seventh without a hit, as Andrew McCutchen led off with a walk, stole second and continued to third on a throwing error by Wieters, and scored on Garrett Jones' infield roller.

Bedard gave up three consecutive hits with two outs in the sixth. But after singles by Nolan Reimold, J.J. Hardy and Nick Markakis loaded the bases, he struck out Jones to escape. He had no way out, however, when the Orioles began the seventh with three more straight hits.

That meant six of the last seven batters to face Bedard got hits, bringing his yield in six-plus innings to seven. He was charged with two runs, one unearned, while walking one and striking out five.

"Erik pitched extremely well," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "He got his pitch count where we wanted. Then Jason [Grilli] came in where we could test his mettle with runners on base, and he handled that well."

Grilli, virtually assured of a spot in the Pirates bullpen, replaced Bedard with two on and none out. One unearned run scored on Alvarez' throwing error with him on the mound, but with men on second and third, he retired the side on two strikeouts and a comebacker.

Baltimore added an insurance run in the eighth on a single to center by Wieters, and one in the ninth on a bloop single just over third base by Blake Davis.

Up next for Pirates: When the Pirates travel to Clearwater on Tuesday to meet the Phillies, Jeff Karstens, due to face Philadelphia in the second game of the regular season, will be getting in his work against Minor Leaguers in Pirate City. Chris Resop steps in to make the start in the 1:05 p.m. ET MLB Network telecast. With a lefty (Cliff Lee) going for the Phillies, the Bucs are likely to go with their alternate corner infield (Casey McGehee at first, Yamaico Navarro at third).

Up next for Orioles: Tsuyoshi Wada will make his first Grapefruit League start on Tuesday afternoon, as the lefty is still in contention for the Orioles' starting rotation. Wada will face the Minnesota Twins, who will send Anthony Swarzak to the mound, for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest at Ed Smith Stadium. Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen will throw six innings in a Minor League game at Twin Lakes Park.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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