O's know they have 'evolved' vet in Gallardo

Free-agent pickup tallies first Baltimore win in solid five-inning outing

O's know they have 'evolved' vet in Gallardo

BALTIMORE -- Yovani Gallardo erased any concern over a poor Spring Training, as the right-hander pitched five solid innings, holding the Twins to just one run in the Orioles' 4-2 win over the Twins at Camden Yards on Wednesday night.

Gallardo, signed this spring to a two-year deal with a one-year option, kept saying he'd be ready to take it to the next level when the season began. And he did that, striking out four in the 89-pitch outing and turning in his 29th start of five or more innings since the beginning of last year.

"The games matter. From the first game to the last game, and I think today I was battling with my command a little bit. It kind of got away from me," said Gallardo, who walked three and relied on a stellar curveball to carry though some of his other inconsistencies. "But I was able to make pitches when I had to, and put zeros up on the board."

Gallardo, who cruised through the first three innings, limited Minnesota to two hits. A sacrifice fly from Joe Mauer produced the only run while he was on the mound. The 30-year-old, signed for his durability, also adds a veteran presence to the rotation and has been praised by manager Buck Showalter for being a savvy starter.

"He's a guy who's going to add and subtract. I think he's a guy who's kind of evolved and knows who he is and who he isn't," said Showalter, whose plan going in was to take Gallardo out after about 90 pitches. "A guy who keeps you in the ballgame and gives you a chance to win it if you catch it and score some runs. On a given night, he's carrying a little extra stuff, get a little deeper in the game. He's a pitcher and he doesn't give in in counts and knows when to pitch backward."

Wednesday's outing also marked Gallardo's first career win at Camden Yards in any uniform. Gallardo pitched in Baltimore just once previously when he was a member of the Rangers, going six scoreless innings on July 2, 2015, but he did not factor into the decision. The righty said his new city already feels like home.

"Ever since lineups were announced [on Monday's Opening Day], the fans were great," Gallardo said. "I'm excited. Having the opportunity to pitch here last year on the other side of the dugout ... it's a good feeling, the excitement in the stands and having the fans here cheering behind you. It's a win-win."

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