ECU’s Wright wins major league debut for Orioles

ECU loses in elimination game, Pirates end season 40-22 (Image 1)

Mike Wright’s major league debut was over. The right-hander had just turned in a sparkling performance on the mound, and as he headed toward the dugout many of 41,733 fans at Camden Yards stood and cheered.

“I just wanted to kind of savor it,” said Wright, who pitched at East Carolina University. “Most of the advice I got was that you only make your debut once. There’s plenty of games, but you only make your debut once, so soak it all in. And that’s definitely what I tried to do.”

Wright (1-0) allowed four hits over 7 1-3 innings, and the Baltimore Orioles ended the Los Angeles Angels’ five-game winning streak with a 3-0 victory Sunday.

Selected in the third round of the 2011 amateur draft, the 6-foot-6 Wright was clocked at 98 mph on a fastball that produced his first major league strikeout, a swing-and-a-miss by Mike Trout.

He would finish with six strikeouts and not a single walk.

“That’s everything you dream of going into it,” Wright said, “and it was really fun.”

Wright allowed an eighth-inning single to Matt Joyce before being removed by manager Buck Showalter after 90 pitches.

The standing ovation followed.

“I tried to, you know, like look up and see what was going on so I could make sure I remember that forever,” the 25-year-old Wright said.

Brad Brach struck out the last two batters in the eighth, and Zach Britton worked the ninth for his eighth save.

Wright outpitched Los Angeles starter Garrett Richards (3-2), who gave up two runs and five hits in 7 2-3 innings.

“Garrett pitched his heart out,” Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. “It was really humid out there.”

Adam Jones scored on a wild pitch in the fourth inning and added a two-run double in the eighth to help Baltimore salvage the finale of the three-game series and improve to 1-12 when scoring fewer than four runs.

Wright started 91 games over five minor league seasons before joining the Orioles on Wednesday for depth in the bullpen. But after starter Chris Tillman developed back spasms, the Orioles called upon Wright to fill the void.

“He was just basically on top of the fastball and we couldn’t square it up,” Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotella said. “He was coming at us. You have to tip your hat off to him.”

Wright retired the first nine batters before Kole Calhoun led off the fourth with a single. After Albert Pujols doubled with one out, Calhoun was erased in a rundown and Wright struck out Giavotella.

That would be the last time the Angels got a runner past first base until the ninth.

Baltimore went up 1-0 in the fourth when Jones reached on an infield hit and scored with two outs when Richards bounced a curveball that got past catcher Carlos Perez.

Jones made it 3-0 in the eighth with a two-out double off Mike Morin, ending a run of 18 scoreless innings by the Los Angeles bullpen.

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