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Vlad makes presence felt in O's opener

Vlad makes presence felt in O's opener

Vlad makes presence felt in O's opener
BRADENTON, Fla. -- The Orioles opened their Grapefruit League season with a 6-4 victory over the Pirates at McKechnie Field on Monday.

In his first spring at-bat with Baltimore, Vladimir Guerrero drove in the first run with a two-out infield single. Felix Pie, who hustled out a double earlier in the frame, scored on the first of Guerrero's two hits. Outfielder Nolan Reimold padded Baltimore's lead with a solo homer in the second.

Mark Reynolds went 0-for-3 with a strikeout in his O's debut.

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"[It was our] first little taste of competition ... and just kind of got out of that routine we've been in for the past week or so," Reynolds said. "It was good to get out there and sweat a little bit and have some fun."

Despite giving up two runs, Pirates starter Paul Maholm was efficient enough to get through two innings in his first outing of the spring. A candidate to start for Pittsburgh on Opening Day, Maholm allowed four hits and struck out two.

"I didn't get ahead of as many hitters as I wanted to, but for the most part, I felt good," Maholm said. "I felt pretty comfortable. I didn't throw any breaking balls. I was a little jumpy and left some over the plate, but the first time in spring, that happens."

Baltimore starter Brad Bergesen eased through his two innings of work. Only one baserunner reached against Bergesen, who struck out two.

The Pirates' first run came in the fifth, when first baseman Lyle Overbay took Orioles reliever Clay Rapada deep. The hit was Overbay's first for extra bases this spring and came after Baltimore pitchers had retired nine straight. Right-hander Ryan Drese pitched two scoreless innings for the Orioles during that stretch.

The O's and Bucs traded two-out runs an inning later. Baltimore's Craig Tatum singled off Jeff Locke to drive home pinch-runner Josh Bell. Jose Tabata singled and scored in the bottom half of the frame when Orioles second baseman Brendan Harris couldn't corral a high popup off Pedro Alvarez's bat.

A terrific catch by center fielder Matt Angle prevented the Pirates from scoring another run in the frame. Angle robbed Bucs Rule 5 Draft pick Josh Rodriguez with a sensational grab as he ran into the outfield wall.

Jeff Karstens and Tyler Yates, both of whom are trying to earn bullpen spots, made scoreless appearances for Pittsburgh.

Up next for the Pirates: The Bucs play the first of three games against the Yankees on Tuesday, as New York travels to McKechnie Field for a 1:05 p.m. ET contest. James McDonald will take the mound for Pittsburgh in his first tuneup of the spring. He is scheduled to throw two innings. A number of the starting position players will get the day off after playing three straight days to open Grapefruit League play. Three players who are fighting for backup infield jobs -- Garrett Atkins, Andy Marte and Josh Rodriguez -- are all expected to be in the starting lineup.

Up next for the Orioles: The O's will open the newly-renovated Ed Smith Stadium on Tuesday against the Rays. Right-hander and likely Opening Day starter Jeremy Guthrie will take the hill for Baltimore, while Andy Sonnanstine will take the mound for Tampa Bay. The game is slated to start at 1:05 p.m. ET.

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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