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Hammel strikes out four, Flaherty hits winning homer

Hammel strikes out four, Flaherty hits winning homer

SARASOTA, Fla. -- A three-run homer by Ryan Flaherty on a full count with two outs in the ninth helped Baltimore (8-2-1) edge Toronto (5-7) by the score of 11-10 on Thursday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd of 7,465 at Ed Smith Stadium.

Jim Negrych's two-run double in the top of the seventh inning off reliever Daniel McCutchen gave Toronto its first lead since the first inning as part of a three-run frame. Melky Cabrera drove in two runs, while Maicer Izturis -- who had one of two errors in a five-run Baltimore third -- had two hits. Outfielder Eugenio Velez chipped in, going 3-for-3 with a run scored.

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After a two-run Baltimore seventh, Kenny Wilson stole third as Ryan Goins walked in the ninth. Luis Exposito then threw the ball away, and Wilson scored. Three batters later, a wild pitch by Adam Russell allowed Goins to cushion Toronto's lead.

But with two outs and runners on the corners, Flaherty took three balls and two called strikes against Neil Wagner before homering to right field, capping a game in which the two teams combined for 28 hits.

Orioles starter Jason Hammel struck out four and allowed a run on five hits and a walk over 2 1/3 innings in his second Grapefruit League outing. Mark Hendrickson recorded two outs after that, with prospect Mike Wright charged with a run over two innings of work.

"Still [throwing] a lot of fastballs," Hammel said of his early spring plan. "Want to stay on top of the two-seamer. I'll make sure that's where it needs to be, because that was a huge help last year. Change-up, I've been working on, too, but just throwing strikes and getting ahead of guys. I've been able to do that so far."

Steve Pearce continued his strong spring showing for the Orioles with an RBI double, while Nolan Reimold reached base three times, including a leadoff home run. Reimold, who served at designated hitter, has gone deep twice this spring, with Thursday's run coming off Blue Jays starter Mark Buehrle.

Buehrle went two innings and walked three, surrendering only Reimold's homer, in his second spring start against the Orioles. "Got my work in," said Buehrle, who threw 44 pitches. "I was a little more wild than I wanted to be, but I was kind of adjusting from the bullpen mound to the game mound and was a little off. But I felt great, the pitch count is all that matters."

Justin Germano followed Buehrle and allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits over two innings.

Up next for Orioles: The Orioles will make the short trip to Bradenton on Friday night to face the Pirates on MLB.TV and Gameday Audio, with a 7:05 p.m. ET first pitch at McKechnie Field. Wei-Yin Chen will make his second spring start with Brian Matusz, Tommy Hunter and Daniel Schlereth also slated to throw for Baltimore. The Pirates will start right-hander Kyle McPherson.

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.

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