O's hurlers unable to contain Yanks
Rookie Simon, relievers allow 11 runs on 13 hits in defeat
BALTIMORE -- The back end of the Baltimore rotation showed up for the first time Thursday, and so did a taste of adversity. The Orioles, who took until the last week of the spring to decide on their final three starters, saw one of those choices dissolve and an alternate struggle mightily in an 11-2 loss to the Yankees.
Alfredo Simon didn't pitch poorly but didn't pitch well enough to get out of the sixth inning. And Brian Bass, one of the final cuts from the rotation, got knocked around for five hits in his first relief stint. New York continued to pound away at the Orioles, scoring the game's final eight runs without an answer.
"You've got to pitch good to beat them," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. "If you don't pitch good, you're not going to beat them because they're very good offensively. But we feel like the way we're geared offensively, if we keep it close, we'll find a way. And when you take two out of three against them and it's the opening series here, you've got to be happy about it.
"There's always room for improvement, but you've got to like the start."
Simon, who came into Spring Training as a darkhorse candidate to start, held his own for the first three innings. The Yankees jumped all over him in the fourth for a pair of home runs -- one by Mark Teixeira and the other by Nick Swisher -- and Simon faced one batter in the sixth before yielding to Bass.
The right-hander had allowed just four hits, including one in the sixth. But Trembley said that Simon (0-1) was struggling with his offspeed offerings and that the Yankees (1-2) were beginning to wear him down. In his mind, it was better to get Simon out of the game with a positive outing than to test him further.
"I thought Simon was teetering," said Trembley of his decision. "He was basically a one-pitch guy, and after they hit the ball out of the ballpark a couple times against him, I didn't want to see them get some multiple hits against him right there because he left on a decent note. It was a good time to get Bass in."
It may have seemed that way, but it worked out quite differently. Bass gave up two hits to load the bases, and on the key play of the game, he wound up coaxing a grounder back to the box. The right-hander fielded the ball cleanly and took two steps toward home, but he threw wildly past catcher Chad Moeller.
That play allowed two runs to score, swinging the game in New York's favor for good. Bass could have easily gotten one out -- and perhaps two -- if things had broken right, but the Yankees went on to add two more runs in the inning. Bass allowed another two runs in the seventh on a home run by Robinson Cano.
"I've done it 1,000 times in Spring Training," said Bass. "It's just one of those situations where you're caught in between. If that ball travels another three or four feet, the overhand throw is fine."
"He doesn't help himself by making the fielding miscue, and that kind of opened up the game," added Trembley. "I don't think he's going to get two on that. And he got caught in between, whether he was going to throw it overhand or throw it underhand.
"He probably could have just given it to him underhand and got one out."
The Orioles (2-1) won the first two games of the series behind Jeremy Guthrie and Koji Uehara and took Thursday's first lead on a single by Brian Roberts in the third inning. Baltimore wound up loading the bases in that inning, but A.J. Burnett (1-0) struck out Aubrey Huff on a curveball to escape the threat.
"That was probably the best curveball he can throw," said Luke Scott, who homered in the fourth. "It started off in the strike zone, and at the very last second, it just dives.
"[On] 3-2, you have to respect the heater because it gets on you quick. ... He battled back from a 2-0 count with the bases loaded and did a good job for his team."
Baltimore's bullpen gave up seven runs, with five of them charged to Bass. Matt Albers threw a scoreless inning, but Chris Ray gave up two runs for his second problematic outing in as many appearances. Still, Trembley said that he just wants to get his relievers work at this point and worry about the results later.
"It's a time to get everybody in there," he said. "As long as we're throwing strikes, pitching ahead, I think that's the key for us. What you don't want to see is you don't want to see the walks."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.