Right-hander Jake Arrieta gets the ball Friday when the American League's surprise team of 2012 - the Baltimore Orioles - enterain the Minnesota Twins in their home opener at Camden Yards.
It's the second straight season in which Arrieta, a fifth-round draft pick in 2007, will open the Orioles' home slate against the Twins. In 2012, he earned his first win of the season with seven innings of scoreless two-hit ball in a 4-2 Baltimore victory.
The Orioles went on to win 93 games and reached the playoffs for the first time since 1997. It was their first time above .500 since the same season.
Arrieta finished the year at 3-9 in 24 appearances after having won a career- high 10 games in 22 starts. He's 2-1 in three career meetings with the Twins, with a 2.65 earned run average in 17 innings.
He'll be faced by Australian Liam Hendriks, who'll seek to erase the memory of a difficult 2012 season.
Now 24, Hendriks reached the majors in 2011 and made four starts with the Twins, losing two decisions while striking out 16 batters and posting a 6.17 ERA in 23 1/3 innings.
He made 16 starts with Minnesota last year but won just once in nine decisions while his ERA stayed high at 5.59 and he permitted an opposition batting average of .305.
Hendriks has never faced the Orioles.
On Thursday in Minnesota, Josh Willingham clubbed a two-run homer and Trevor Plouffe added a solo shot, as the Twins earned an 8-2 win over the Detroit Tigers at Target Field.
After dropping the season opener, the Twins won the final two games to claim their first series at home against the Tigers since Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2010.
"We know it's a long, long season but it's a good start," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire remarked. "Three good starts in a row is huge for our baseball team."
Meanwhile, in St. Petersburg, Chris Davis hit a two-run homer and knocked in four runs, to help the Orioles beat the Tampa Bay Rays, 6-3, in the rubber match of a three-game series.
Davis homered in every game of the series and went 7-for-11 with 11 RBI for the Orioles, who got a two-run homer from J.J. Hardy. Adam Jones went 3-for-5 with two runs scored.
"I feel comfortable in the box," Davis said. "We've had a few runners on when I'm up at the plate, which is always fun cause if you get a hit, those guys are going to score."
Baltimore starter Miguel Gonzalez (1-0) allowed two runs on five hits over 6 1/3 innings. The right-hander went 9-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 18 games last season.
The news was not all good for Baltimore, which lost second baseman Brian Roberts to a hamstring injury in the top of the ninth inning. Roberts hurt his right hamstring while sliding headfirst into second on a stolen base. Roberts was unable to put any pressure on his right leg as he was helped off the field.
The Orioles won five of seven games against the Rays in 2012, including all three in Baltimore.