March 25, 2015

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) Looking to cement a spot in the Toronto rotation, Daniel Norris allowed one run in six impressive innings as the Blue Jays beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 on Wednesday.

Norris gave up three hits and struck out seven without walking a batter. It was Norris' second start against Baltimore. In his first, he allowed one hit in 1 2-3 innings.

The Orioles' run scored in the third when Norris hit Nolan Reimold with a pitch, and Caleb Joseph doubled.

After talking with Toronto pitching coach Pete Walker, Norris started using a second changeup, and it was effective.

''We kind of messed around with something. They said, `It's up to you if you want to try it.' I was like yeah. If it's going to make me better, I'll do it, sure. And it worked today,'' Norris said.

Blue Jays manager John Gibbons likes the new pitch.

''You really don't want that one cutting into those righties. That can be dangerous. If you get it to fade away like it did today, that's huge,'' Gibbons said.

Kevin Pillar, who missed 10 days with an oblique strain caused by sneezing, returned to the lineup, and hit a two-run homer for Toronto.

''I hit a crossroad right there where I could have let it break me. And it started to at first because I was very upset that it got out and it became as big of a story as it was,'' Pillar said.

Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen gave up two runs, one of them earned, in five innings. He allowed four hits, struck out one and didn't walk a batter.

Delmon Young homered for Baltimore in the seventh.


Blue Jays: Pillar admitted some unease. ''It felt like opening day again today. It felt like the first day of spring training. I was definitely nervous, prepared as best as I could. I watched games from the dugout, watched the other guys at-bats, stood in on as many bullpens as I could,'' Pillar said.

Orioles: INF Jonathan Schoop will be out for a few days because he's having extensive dental work.

''He needs all four wisdom teeth out and he needs two teeth extracted,'' manager Buck Showalter said. ''They're going to try and hold off on the wisdom teeth, but he's going to be down for a few days.''

OF David Lough is still out with back spasms.

''I was in the batting cages picking up balls. I picked up a ball and my low back started spasming on me and I could barely walk yesterday,'' Lough said.


Blue Jays: RHP Daniel Castro, who has never even pitched in Double-A, appears to have a spot in the bullpen locked up. The 20-year-old has allowed three hits in nine innings with eight strikeouts and no walks. Gibbons is planning on pitching Castro on back-to-back days next week.

Orioles: Chen is also throwing a new changeup. ''I am still going to keep tinkering in the bullpen but hopefully by the start if the season I don't have to think about it and I can just throw it naturally,'' he said through a translator.

CUT: Toronto optioned RHPs Chad Jenkins and Bo Schultz to minor league camp.


Blue Jays: RHP Aaron Sanchez starts against Philadelphia RHP Cole Hamels on Thursday. Sanchez allowed three earned runs in 5 1-3 innings on March 19 against Boston.

Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman, who could be the opening day starter, draws Detroit LHP David Price at Lakeland on Thursday.

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