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Roberts goes 3-for-3 with homer to help down Bucs

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SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Orioles continued their hot spring start Friday afternoon, edging the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-5, to improve to 6-1 in the Grapefruit League season.

Gaby Sanchez homered twice for Pittsburgh, both leadoff home runs, in the fourth and sixth innings off Mike Wright and Mark Hendrickson.

Orioles leadoff man Brian Roberts went 3-for-3, including a solo homer to start the game, in an encouraging sign for the injury-plagued second baseman.

Left fielder Nolan Reimold also hit his first spring homer, the first of a pair of long balls for the Orioles in the second inning. Reimold, who had last season cut short with neck surgery, only played two innings with his two-run, second-inning shot clearing the picnic area in left field. Wilson Betemit followed with a solo knock of his own, with all four of the runs charged to Pirates starter James McDonald.

Orioles starter Jason Hammel tossed two scoreless innings in his spring start, allowing one hit and striking out three.

"I made a goal for me in the offseason to be able to come out and pitch without a brace," said Hammel, who had a right knee injury that hampered him nearly all of last season. "So, check that one off the list.

"I can feel my lower half, it's not more of just trying to build momentum to get towards the plate because I didn't have the backside push. I felt outstanding."

Wright became the first Oriole to throw three innings this spring, and was charged with three runs, while Bucs righty Chris Leroux pitched two innings and allowed one unearned run after McDonald.

Up next: Baltimore will travel to Port Charlotte to take on the Tampa Bay Rays in a Saturday afternoon contest slated to start at 1:05 p.m. The Orioles will send lefty Wei-Yin Chen to the mound for his first spring start, while the Rays will counter with right-hander Alex Cobb. Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter, Troy Patton and Daniel McCutchen are also scheduled to pitch for the O's.

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

{"event":["spring_training" ] }
{"event":["spring_training" ] }
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