BALTIMORE — Steve Pearce had three hits and two RBIs in his return to the Orioles, and Baltimore beat the skidding Pittsburgh Pirates 5-1 Thursday in a doubleheader opener.
Nick Markakis homered and No. 9 hitter Ryan Flaherty drove in two runs for the Orioles. Flaherty batted directly ahead of Pearce, who tied a career high for hits.
Pearce was designated for assignment by Baltimore on April 22 and released five days later. He was re-signed Monday after first baseman Chris Davis went on the 15-day disabled list.
Pedro Alvarez had two hits and an RBI for the Pirates, who stranded 13 and went 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position. Pittsburgh has lost 14 of 18 after a 6-3 start, and the defeat ended the team’s nine-game road winning streak in interleague play.
The single-admission doubleheader followed consecutive rainouts. The rain lingered long enough to delay the start of the fifth inning by 21 minutes.
Trailing 1-0 when the stoppage occurred, Baltimore regrouped during the break and sent nine batters to the plate in a three-run fifth. After a single, walk and an error loaded the bases against Charlie Morton (0-4), Pearce hit an RBI single and Flaherty grounded an opposite-field, two-run single to left field.
Pittsburgh got the first two runners on in the sixth and chased Bud Norris (2-2), but Ryan Webb retired Tony Sanchez and Jordy Mercer.
Pearce singled in a run in the sixth, and Markakis hit his first homer of the season in the seventh for a 5-1 lead.
Norris allowed one run in 5 1-3 innings despite giving up seven hits, walking one and hitting two batters.
Tommy Hunter got the last out with runners on second and third for his seventh save.
Morton started well but came unhinged after the rain delay and lost his fourth consecutive start. The right-hander permitted four runs, two earned, and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings.
The Pirates got runners on second and third with two outs in the first inning before Norris struck out Gaby Sanchez.
Pittsburgh stranded a runner in scoring position in the second, and was poised to waste Jose Tabala’s leadoff triple in the third before Alvarez delivered a two-out RBI single.
The Pirates mounted several threats the rest of the way, none of which produced a run. Pinch-hitter Travis Snider hit a routine grounder in the eighth with runners at second and third and two outs.
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