BALTIMORE -- Felix Doubront didn't go as deep Thursday night against the Orioles as he might have liked. In the sixth inning, he seemed to tire despite throwing just 76 pitches.
But there was little else to complain about the lefty's first outing of the season.
''I thought Felix was crisp, he was sharp,'' said John Farrell. "He had a good changeup. It seemed like after the leadoff double by [Chris] Davis [in the fourth], he was kind of navigating his way through that inning. Andthen, after that second out, he might have got a little excited and left a couple pitches over the plate for the two runs, but he has good stuff tonight.
"It was exciting to see him take the last start in spring training out to the mound tonight.''
Especially when Doubront was hammered in each of his two previous spring outings, allowing 15 runs on 20 hits to the Yankees and Rays.
Still, with a strong five-inning performance against Minnesota a week ago, Doubront seemed to turn himself around.
"Overall, pretty good,'' concluded Doubront of his outing, which saw him allow three runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. "My delivery was good. For the first game, it was good.''
Other than doubles from Davis and Matt Wieters and a sharp single to right by Delmon Young, the Orioles didn't hit Doubront hard. He used his changeup effectively to keep the Baltimore hitters off balance and retired them in order in the fifth after they had scored twice in the fourth.
In the sixth, he yielded a leadoff single to David, then engaged Adam Jones in an epic battle, which Doubront won when Jones flied out to right on the 11th pitch of the at-bat.
It was a key out, but it also seemed to take something out of Doubront, and Farrell took no chances, going to the bullpen.
"I was getting too excited and tried to strike him out,'' said Doubront of the duel with Jones. "It took a lot of pitches and I was overthrowing some. I finally got an out, but not the way I wanted.''
With a deep, rested bullpen, Farrell had some options and began matching up for the final 11 outs. For the first time through the rotation, there was no need to push his starter more than necessary.