SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Baltimore Orioles right-hander Brad Bergesen has a habit of rushing his delivery. Once again, slow and steady won a game for him on Saturday.
Bergesen fell behind by two runs in the first inning, but he retired the last 10 batters he faced as a split squad of the Orioles' 5-2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Luke Scott homered off Pirates starter Charlie Morton in the fourth inning to reduce Pittsburgh's lead to 2-1. Scott connected with the count full for his second homer and ninth RBI this spring.
Morton exited with two outs in the fifth and the game tied at 2 after Cesar Izturis' grounder scored Nolan Reimold, who walked and moved up on Ty Wigginton's double. Adam Jones reached on a throwing error by shortstop Bobby Crosby, and Baltimore took a lead that its bullpen protected the rest of the way.
Morton was charged with two earned runs and four hits, including two infield singles by Felix Pie. He walked two and struck out three.
Bergesen, making his third start for the Orioles after reporting to spring training with a sore right shoulder, allowed two runs and three hits in 4 2-3 innings. He walked one, struck out four and threw 38 of his 56 pitches for strikes.
"I wouldn't say I'm right where I need to be right now, but it's just small pieces and continuing to build on it and trying to get back to 100 percent and where I need to be for the season," Bergesen said.
The Pirates scored twice in the first inning after loading the bases with no outs. Garrett Jones lifted a sacrifice fly, and second baseman Wigginton booted Ryan Doumit's grounder up the middle that might have produced a double play.
Bergesen also surrendered a one-out double to Luke Carlin in the second inning, but he didn't permit another baserunner.
"When I went in after that first inning and talked to Kranny (pitching coach Rick Kranitz), he told me to just really slow things down and guide myself over the rubber. I just tried to focus on that," he said.
"Those are two of my things, sometimes rushing my delivery — so really staying back on the rubber is what Kranny tells me to remind me — and making sure my arm gets out front. When I slow myself down, I get in a rhythm and I kind of free my arm up. Instead of trying to force it, I let my pitches happen on their own and trust the pitches and trust the delivery.
The Pirates put two runners on base against reliever Matt Albers with two outs in the eighth inning, but left-hander Alberto Castillo induced a double-play grounder from Brandon Moss.
Paco Figueroa's two-run double with two outs in the bottom of the eighth increased the Orioles' lead to 5-2.
Reimold, projected to be Baltimore's starting left fielder on Opening Day, went 0 for 2 with a walk and remains hitless in 21 at-bats this spring.