Davis leads offensive outburst by O's to back Chen
Slugger goes 3-for-3 with two-run dinger; lefty gives up a hit over three frames
SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles jumped out to a big lead against the Pirates on Sunday afternoon, backing up a strong start by lefty Wei-Yin Chen as they went on to win, 9-2, at Ed Smith Stadium.
The top of Baltimore's lineup provided the early fireworks, with leadoff man David Lough reaching on a bunt single and coming around to score on a double to left field by Nelson Cruz. Chris Davis continued his hot start to the spring one batter later, crushing a solo homer off Pirates starter Edinson Volquez over the bleachers in left to put the Orioles ahead, 3-0, in the first inning.
Davis finished the game 3-for-3 with three RBIs and three runs, bringing his Grapefruit League average to .533.
"I feel very happy. This is my third year, and we've always had a very good offense," Chen said. "I'm happy to see them do well, and for now I'm going to focus on how to condition myself for the season."
Chen looked like he was back on track against Pittsburgh on Sunday, allowing one hit and striking out two batters in three scoreless innings. Chen gave up two runs on five hits and a walk on Tuesday against the Yankees but felt he executed his pitches better in his second Grapefruit League start.
"I think the main difference is my command is better than the last outing," Chen said. "I was able to keep the ball low and hit the both sides of the plate. I think that's the main difference."
Volquez, meanwhile, struggled to keep the ball in the park. The right-hander gave up a three-run shot to Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy in the third, when he was chased from the game after allowing six runs on seven hits while striking out three in 2 2/3 innings.
Baltimore went on to score three more runs in the bottom of the fourth on doubles by Quintin Berry and Davis and an RBI single by Nick Markakis.
The Pirates got a run back in the fourth, when reigning National League MVP Andrew McCutchen drove his second homer of the spring to left field off Brad Brach. Pittsburgh catcher Tony Sanchez also went deep off Brach in the fifth, lofting a solo shot to left in the fifth.
Up next: Right-hander Chris Tillman will take the mound as the Orioles and Pirates face off once again, this time at McKechnie Field in Bradenton, Fla., for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest. Tillman gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits and struck out two batters in 2 1/3 innings on Thursday. Right-hander Brock Huntzinger and lefty T.J. McFarland are also scheduled to pitch against the Bucs, who will start right-hander Jay Jackson.