Jack Flaherty struck out seven consecutive Phillies

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Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty made an outstanding Grapefruit League start against the Phillies on Tuesday afternoon, spinning four scoreless innings, limiting the Phillies to just two hits with no walks and nine strikeouts. Seven of those strikeouts came consecutively in the second through fourth innings.

The Phillies led off with back-to-back singles in the second inning, putting runners on first and third. Flaherty bounced back by fanning Andrew Knapp, then getting Aaron Altherr to whiff on strike three while J.T. Realmuto was caught trying to steal second base. In the third, Flaherty struck out Maikel Franco, Sean Rodríguez, and Andrew McCutchen in 1-2-3 order. In the fourth, Jean Segura and Nick Williams both struck out before Rhys Hoskins ended the streak with an inning-ending ground out.

Despite Flaherty’s effort, the Cardinals lost 2-1 to the Phillies. Rodríguez brought home a run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning and Malquin Canelo hit a walk-off RBI double in the ninth.

According to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Flaherty is the first Cardinals pitcher to strike out seven consecutive batters in a spring training game since Lance Lynn struck out eight in a row back in 2014 against the Braves.

Flaherty, 23, finished fifth in NL Rookie of the Year balloting last year, posting a 3.34 ERA with 182 strikeouts and 59 walks across 151 innings. He will reprise his role as part of a rotation that also includes Miles Mikolas, Michael Wacha, and Adam Wainwright. The fifth member of the rotation is still not known as Carlos Martínez is on the mend and Alex Reyes may not be ready for the start of the regular season.

Orioles option LHP Bruce Zimmermann to minors

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The Baltimore Orioles have optioned left-handers Bruce Zimmermann and Nick Vespi and reassigned infielder Lewin Díaz, left-hander Darwinzon Hernandez and catcher Mark Kolozsvary to minor league camp.

The Orioles announced the moves Monday.

Baltimore’s spring training roster now has 46 players.

Zimmermann made 13 starts last season. He went 2-5 with a 5.99 ERA.

The competition for rotation spots with the Orioles has been a significant story during spring training, but after the team acquired Cole Irvin and Kyle Gibson in the offseason – and with top prospect Grayson Rodriguez in the mix as well – there were a lot of pitchers Zimmermann needed to beat out.