SARASOTA, Fla. -- Mike Flanagan and Leo Gomez piled up a lot of Grapefruit League points last night, despite the Orioles' 8-7 loss to the White Sox in 11 innings.
In his second outing of the spring, Flanagan allowed three hits and two unearned runs in four innings. He has pitched seven exhibition innings, allowing only four hits and no earned runs.
"I feel much better about this one than the last," said Flanagan. "I just built off that one, made some minor adjustments, did a little fine-tuning."
He also broke out his patented curveball for the first time. "There was no wind," he said. "I could throw it this time. I would say I threw better this time than I did all of last year."
Last year was a short one for Flanagan. He pitched two innings in one spring training start and 20 in four regular-season appearances and then was released by the Toronto Blue Jays. "Nothing ever hurt," said Flanagan, "but I never felt like I had any arm strength. Not every day strength, but pitching strength. It's hard to explain, but if I was 2-and-0 and had to reach back for something extra, I never felt it was there."
Gomez, embroiled in a duel with Craig Worthington for the starting third base job, aided his cause last night with three solid hits, one of them a grand slam.
* LETTING DOWN THE DEFENSES: Flanagan would have had a win and Gomez would have been credited with the key hit if the Orioles' defense hadn't come apart at the seams.
Three errors led to four unearned runs for the White Sox, the last a bizarre miscue by first baseman David Segui that allowed the White Sox to tie the game in the ninth inning.
An error by Jeff McKnight, who had a tough evening in rightfield, led to the two unearned runs against Flanagan. Then a boot by Tim Hulett at second base opened the gates for the two runs that tied the game in the ninth.
The tying run scored after Shane Turner made an outstanding play at shortstop to start a double play. But, while reliever Mark Williamson was acknowledging the play, Segui inexplicably lobbed the ball over the head of Gomez at third base, allowing Bobby Meacham to score.
In the 11th inning, a walk, infield out and two wild pitches by knuckleballer Dan Boone put the finishing touches on an ugly conclusion.
* THIS 'N THAT: The Orioles had "A" and "B" squad games scheduled against Minnesota today and Texas tomorrow.
Dave Johnson, Jose Bautista, Kevin Hickey and Mike Linskey were scheduled to pitch today's "A" game, with Jose Mesa, Arthur Rhodes, Joe Price and Chris Myers going in the "B" contest.
Ben McDonald will start tomorrow's "A" game (1:30, Channel 2, WBAL-AM 1090).
Individual tickets for games 2 through 78 are on sale at the Orioles' various ticket outlets.
Last night's loss evened the Orioles' exhibition record at 4-4.