Norris' spring struggles continue as O's fall to Cardinals

Norris' spring struggles continue as O's fall to Cardinals

JUPITER, Fla. -- Punctuated by Mark Reynolds' first spring homer and a strong start from Jaime Garcia, the Cardinals defeated the Orioles, 8-2, at Roger Dean Stadium on Thursday.

Following a single from Matt Holliday and a Matt Adams walk, Reynolds crushed a pitch from Orioles starter Bud Norris to give St. Louis the lead in the third. The homer was the first of the spring by a Cardinals hitter already with a secure spot on the Opening Day roster.

"It is a Spring Training homer," Reynolds said. "It doesn't go on the back of your baseball card. But it is good to see some results. All the work you put in and all the early mornings, it is good to see results."

Norris faced just one additional hitter in his outing before Baltimore summoned its first reliever with two outs remaining in the third. In two Grapefruit League appearances, Norris has now given up eight hits (including two homers), seven runs and walked four over 3 2/3 innings.

"I felt great," Norris said. "That's the key for me is getting out of there and staying healthy. It's good to have some ups and downs, which I'm pretty happy about. I felt a little shaky from the windup; that's something I'm going to work on in the next couple [of days]. I felt good from the stretch, [and my] slider was pretty good today. Threw some really good changeups. Fastball command, obviously, is something I need a lot of work on, but that's why we get all of camp."

Garcia, on the other hand, was strong in his second outing of the spring. After allowing a run on two hits in the first inning, Garcia closed his four-inning performance by retiring nine straight. He struck out five and threw 32 of his 50 pitches for strikes.

Designated hitter Jimmy Paredes drove home the Orioles' run against Garcia, who is competing for a job in the Cardinals' starting rotation.

St. Louis broke the game open with a three-run seventh that featured a Stephen Piscotty RBI double and a sacrifice fly from Tommy Pham. Pham and Reynolds share the team lead with five Grapefruit League RBIs. All three of those runs came off Baltimore's Dylan Bundy.

Up next: Baltimore visits the Blue Jays on Friday in Ubaldo Jimenez's third start. Jimenez, who has been tweaking his delivery, has given up seven runs (six earned) over 3 1/3 innings for a 16.20 ERA. Toronto will start righty Aaron Sanchez, who may join the big-league rotation after Marcus Stroman's season-ending injury. You can watch the game on MLB.TV starting at 1:07 p.m. ET.

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