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Duel of opening-day starters ends in Orioles-Pirates tie at 3-all in 10 innings

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SARASOTA, Florida — In a matchup of opening-day pitchers, Baltimore right-hander Chris Tillman allowed two runs over five innings while Pittsburgh lefty Francisco Liriano gave up one run in three innings as the Orioles and Pirates played to a 3-3 tie Wednesday night.

The game was called after 10 innings.

Pedro Alvarez, who leads the Grapefruit League with 17 RBIs, hit a two-run homer off Tillman in the second inning. It was the fifth homer of the spring for Alvarez.

Tillman, who struck out eight, threw a 3-2 changeup to Alvarez, who hit it far over the right-center fence.

"I think we're all ready to get this thing going," Tillman said. "I feel like spring training lasts forever. It gets longer and longer every year. I think we've got a few things we need to get better at. I feel good about where we're at."

Liriano allowed three hits. Gerrit Cole, Pittsburgh's No. 2 starter, pitched three scoreless innings of one-hit ball.

"I'm ready to go, physically and mentally," Liriano said. "Everything feels great. I can't wait until opening day. It's going to be exciting. Everybody looks forward to opening day."

Everth Cabrera homered off Liriano in the third. Cabrera's seventh-inning triple tied the score at 2.

Tillman and Liriano were both selected to start on opening day for the second straight season.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Pirates: CF Andrew McCutchen grounded out to second to end the eighth, but didn't run it out. McCutchen, who was taken out of the game and missed 10 games last month with an unspecified left knee injury, said he was fine.

"I slipped over the plate trying to get the engine started," McCutchen said. "I think I made the team already."

Orioles: Manager Buck Showalter said he's growing more optimistic that SS J.J. Hardy's time on the disabled list for a strained left shoulder will enable him to return early in the team's first homestand, which begins late next week. ... OF David Lough (hamstring) will play in a minor league game Friday could rejoin the team late next week.

STICKING AROUND

Pirates LHP Clayton Richard, who missed last season due to two shoulder operations, declined to exercise his opt-out clause Wednesday and will remain in extended spring training in Bradenton.

"I'll be ironing stuff out for a little while and continuing the process we've started," Richard said. "I'm impressed by everything they've done for me and the opportunities they've given me. I want to keep on going in that direction."

Richard could go to Triple-A Indianapolis after he's finished at extended spring.

STARTING TIME

Pirates: Liriano is impressed by Alvarez's work at first base. Alvarez has converted from third base to first this spring. He made a diving stop on Chris Davis' grounder and threw to Liriano, who was covering the bag.

"He can catch, we know that," Liriano said "It's great to see him make a play out there. I know it's his first year at first, but he'll be OK."

Orioles: RHP Miguel Gonzalez, who will start the third game of the season next Wednesday, is scheduled to pitch a minor league game this Friday. RHP Ubaldo Jimenez, who has started six times this spring — all on the road — will start at home against Atlanta.

UP NEXT

Pirates: RHP A.J. Burnett, in line to be the third starter, pitches against New York Yankees RHP Michael Pineda in Tampa on Thursday.

Orioles: LHP Wei-Yin Chen, who will start Baltimore's second game of the season next Tuesday at Tampa Bay, pitches Thursday night against Atlanta LHP Alex Wood in Kissimmee.

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