ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The Orioles seemed destined for their first 5-0 spring start since their inaugural season of 1954, but the Philadelphia Phillies came back from a late two-run deficit for an 8-4 victory at Al Lang Stadium yesterday.
Ricky Jordan hit a towering two-run home run in the eighth inning, and Mariano Duncan hit a three-run shot in the ninth, as the Phillies hammered former teammate Todd Frohwirth and spoiled the Orioles' perfect preseason.
"I got raked," Frohwirth said. "It was really ugly. Ricky Jordan is a good friend of mine, but he was sitting on my slider, so he's no friend of mine now."
The Orioles opened the exhibition season 4-0 for the first time since 1963 and seemed headed for a fifth win when Frohwirth entered the game. The Orioles were leading 4-2. It might have been nice to stay perfect, but there is no correlation between good spring starts and good Orioles seasons. The 1954 team finished 54-100 in the regular season.
* POOLE NEARLY FULL: Lefthander Jim Poole, who has been hampered by a sore shoulder since the first day of spring training, may pitch against the Phillies on Sunday in Clearwater.
"I'll throw a little longer in the bullpen and then throw batting practice on Friday and see how it goes," Poole said.
He is being treated for tendinitis, but says that the soreness has largely subsided.
"It just felt a little weak the last time I went out," he said. "I need to build it up a little."
* DEW-EY, DEW-EY: Outfielder Dwight Evans has had trouble keeping his legs healthy the past couple of years, but he was running well in the third inning when he tripled to right-centerfield. He finished the game 2-for-3.
* GOMEZ ON MOVE: Third baseman Leo Gomez went to the instructional league in October to work on his footwork, and it apparently has paid off. He looked quick on a couple of tough chances early in the game, once ranging far to his left to play a tough short hop.
* MARK-ED MAN: Reliever Mark Williamson has not been particularly sharp in his early outings, but dismisses the notion his arm suffered from the heavy work schedule he endured in 1989 and 1990.
"My arm is fine," he said, after giving up two hits and an unearned run in an inning yesterday. "It's the rest of my body that is falling apart."
He was referring to the series of injuries that has dogged him the past couple of years. He apparently is healthy this spring.
"I've been used a lot [over the past few years], but that's the nature of the game," he said. "Your job is to pitch, and I have always been able to handle the work."