The circumstances on Friday, however, will be vastly different.
A year ago, the Orioles launched the season at home and Arrieta was coming off a 10-win campaign that earned him his first opening day start. This time, Baltimore makes its 2013 debut at Camden Yards after taking two of three against Tampa Bay, and Arrieta finds himself in the back end of the rotation following a dismal 3-9 season that included a two-month stint in the minor leagues."I'm much more focused and much better prepared this time around," Arrieta said. "Not that I wasn't prepared or (didn't have) focus going into this last season. But I think my preparation and focus is a little bit more fine-tuned. And now I am in this position and am ready to take the bull by the horns, so to speak, and keep my job all year. I think that's what everybody wants and what everybody expects from me. That's what I plan to do."
Arrieta held the Twins to two hits over seven innings last April 6, but that was the highlight of a season in which he finished with a 6.20 ERA. While the right-hander will be looking to bounce back from a horrid 2012 season, the Orioles will be seeking to build upon what they accomplished in spite of Arrieta's struggle.
Friday's game is the first at Camden Yards since last October, when Baltimore packed the house for its playoff series against the New York Yankees . This is the first real opportunity for the Orioles to bask in the adulation of a fan-base still riding the high from a 93-69 season that ended a run of 14 straight years of losing.
For Arrieta, it's a chance to prove he's more like the pitcher who shined in 2011 rather than the one who flopped last year. It's the third straight season he's started Baltimore's home opener - the 27-year-old beat Detroit two years ago - but he's still got something to prove."To be able to have multiple opportunities and have the trust and the faith from the organization, the staff, it's a very humbling feeling," Arrieta said. "The most important thing is my preparation and my awareness of the situation is better than it ever has been, and I think that's what makes it more special."
Will Arrieta be a key facet of the starting rotation, or will he again struggle?"We're going to find out. Our curiosity is going to be satisfied over the course of the season," manager Buck Showalter said. "Minnesota will let us know. They have a very good offensive team. His next start, somebody else will let us know. I'm looking forward to finding out if guys like Jake are going to graduate."
Arrieta would certainly appreciate some more support from Chris Davis . Baltimore's first baseman, who closed the 2012 regular season with seven homers in his final seven games, went deep in each contest against the Rays, going 7 for 11 in all with 11 RBIs.
Only three players in major league history have homered in four straight games to start the season: San Francisco's Willie Mays in 1971, St. Louis' Mark McGwire in 1998 and Texas' Nelson Cruz in 2011."It's awesome, but at the same time, it's about winning baseball games," Davis said. "I've basically just been trying to keep it simple. Do my job. We've got a lot of guys in this lineup that can do a lot of things with the bat, and we've proven that over the last three days."
The Twins, meanwhile, are trying to get to where the Orioles are. A year ago, Minnesota began the season by being swept in Baltimore and stumbled to a 66-96 finish.Looking back on the tell-tale opening series of a year ago, Twins reliever Brian Duensing said, "I feel like we actually played pretty decent, but I remember their starting pitching just came out in midseason form right away."
The Orioles parlayed that sweep into their first playoff appearance since 1997."We take credit for them getting off to a good start and sending them on their way," said Twins manager Ron Gardenhire , who believes Baltimore has the talent to make a return trip to the postseason."It's a very good baseball team again," he said. "They're confident. We saw that in spring training, too. They know they can do some things. So it's going to be entertaining going in there and playing them."
It's been a tough early schedule for the Twins, who took two of three at home against the defending AL champion Detroit Tigers and now face another playoff team eager for an encore."They're a good team. They're a team not to overlook," Duensing said. "I think Buck Showalter's got them in the right mindset, and they're all playing together. That makes a team dangerous when you're all sticking together and doing everything the right way."
Minnesota got three solid starting pitching performances against the Tigers and will now turn to Liam Hendriks , who went 1-8 with a 5.59 ERA in 16 starts as a rookie in 2012.
The Australian right-hander will be facing the Orioles for the first time in the regular season after pitching 2 2-3 scoreless innings against Baltimore in his spring finale.
|March 24, 2013||Tim Wood||15-Day DL||Right rotator cuff strain|
|March 22, 2013||Scott Diamond||15-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Anthony Swarzak||15-Day DL||Fractured ribs|
|February 06, 2013||Anthony Swarzak||Day-to-Day||Fractured ribs|
|April 04, 2013||Brian Roberts||Day-to-Day||Right hamstring injury|
|March 26, 2013||Wilson Betemit||15-Day DL||Right PCL tear|
|March 23, 2013||Steve Johnson||15-Day DL||Strained right lat|
|March 22, 2013||Tsuyoshi Wada||60-Day DL||Recovery from left elbow surgery|
|March 22, 2013||Chris Tillman||15-Day DL||Strained left abdominal|
BALTIMORE (AP) -- It seems as if there is no ballpark - or landmark - big enough to contain the mighty swing of Baltimore slugger Chris Davis .
Davis extended his torrid start with a grand slam and five RBIs, and the Orioles used a five-run eighth inning to beat Minnesota 9-5 Friday in their home opener.
Davis became the fourth player in major league history to homer in his first four games of the season, joining Willie Mays , Mark McGwire and Nelson Cruz . He is 9 for 15 (.600) with four homers and 16 RBIs.
According to the Orioles, Davis' 16 RBIs in his team's first four games breaks the old big league record of 12.
"If you put him in the Grand Canyon, he'll hit it out," teammate Adam Jones said. "Whatever he's doing, stick to it. Show up tomorrow and do it again."
Davis insists he's doing nothing extraordinary, even though the results suggest otherwise.
"I don't feel like I have anything magical," he said. "I feel comfortable and I feel like I'm being patient. I'm taking what they give me."
The Orioles trailed 5-4 before loading the bases with one out in the eighth against Casey Fien (0-1). After Jones tied it with an RBI single, Davis greeted Twins reliever Tyler Robertson with an opposite-field shot to left on the first pitch.
"Leave the ball up to a guy, especially when they're hot, they're going to hit it hard sometime," Robertson said. "He barely swung and he hit that ball. He's just on fire right now. He's seeing it good. It's easy to say I should have went with a breaking ball, but if I get that fastball down, I think I'm OK, too."
The grand slam set off a wild celebration from the sellout crowd of 46,653, many of whom came to welcome back the Orioles from their banner 2012 season, when they ended a run of 14 years of losing with their first playoff appearance since 1997.
Luis Ayala (1-0) allowed two hits in scoreless 1 2-3 innings for the Orioles, who improved to 3-1 after taking two of three from Tampa Bay on the road.
Brian Dozier drove in three runs for the Twins, who were playing their first road game. Minnesota lost three straight in Baltimore to start last season.
"I saw the ball good today, came up with a couple hits in some key situations, and that's what hitting is all about," Dozier said.
Davis knows all about it. No one has come up with more clutch hits during this young season than Baltimore's muscle-laden first baseman.
"He's in a good place right now," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Twins starter Liam Hendricks gave up four runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings. He retains his lifetime 1-10 record.
After Dozier put Minnesota ahead with an RBI single in the sixth, Fien struck out pinch-hitter Alexi Casilla in the seventh with runners at second and third and two outs. Casilla was hitting for Ryan Flaherty , who stranded five runners in his previous two at-bats.
But Baltimore completed the comeback in a big way in the eighth.
Starting his third straight home opener for the Orioles, Jake Arrieta was victimized by a four-run fourth inning in which he yielded three consecutive two-out RBI hits. The right-hander allowed four runs and seven hits over five-plus innings, and needed 95 pitches to do so.
Baltimore went up 1-0 in the third when Nate McLouth hit a two-out single, stole second and came home on Manny Machado 's liner up the middle - his first RBI of the season.
Minnesota responded with a four-run fourth. With two outs and two on, Chris Parmelee hit a broken-bat RBI single and Dozier followed with a two-run triple over the head of right fielder Nick Markakis . Eduardo Escobar capped the uprising with a run-scoring single.
The Orioles tied it at 4 in the fifth. Markakis singled and scored on a double by Jones, who took third on the throw to the plate and came home on a sacrifice fly by Davis.
Before the game, the Orioles celebrated some of their accomplishments of last year and paid homage to Earl Weaver, the Hall of Fame manager who died in January.
J.J. Hardy, Jones and Matt Wieters received the Gold Gloves they won in 2012. Instead of a ceremonial first pitch, a baseball was placed next to the pitching rubber as a tribute to Weaver, who won 1,480 games over 17 seasons with the Orioles.
NOTES: The Orioles placed 2B Brian Roberts (right hamstring strain) on the 15-day DL and recalled infielder Yamaico Navarro from Triple-A Norfolk. ... Chris Tillman will come off the DL and start for the Orioles on Saturday night. The Twins will send Vance Worley (0-1) to the mound. ... Baltimore improved to 40-20 in home openers. ... Minnesota hasn't won in Baltimore since April 21, 2011.