Orioles take lead in 3rd, Fox homers

BRADENTON, Fla. - Jake Fox completed a six-run third inning with a mammoth two-run shot to left field off Pirates starter Ross Ohlendorf.

That's six homers for Fox. If you connected them, they would reach my townhouse in Sykesville.

This ball bounced off the roof of a building that sits beyond the fence. If I were Fox, I'd still be striking a pose at home plate.

Fox followed Matt Wieters' two-run double to left, though that one was charitable. Jose Tabata should have made the catch, but he misplayed the ball on the warning track and actually had to reach down for it as it dropped cleanly.

The Orioles sent 10 batters to the plate. Brendan Harris and Brandon Snyder reached on infield hits, and J.J. Hardy tied the game with a two-out single. Nolan Reimold also singled to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead before Wieters and Fox stepped to the plate.

Fox is competing with Craig Tatum for the backup catching job, but he also could be the second utility infielder. His bat off the bench would be an asset.

You can't be fooled by spring numbers, and Fox is a dead fastball hitter. Those guys can rake in exhibition games. But how can you cut Fox, who's out of minor league options, when he's hitting the cover off the ball?

Scouts will downgrade Fox for his defense, but he's swinging a mean bat.

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