Even with half a team, Birds are proving too tough to beat

Orioles notes

March 20, 1992|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Even with barely half of a regular lineup, the Orioles managed to extend their exhibition winning streak to seven yesterday.

They beat the Minnesota Twins, 8-5, in a game that was that close only because of a four-run ninth inning by the defending World Series champions. Bob Milacki continued the mastery by starting pitchers, working the first five innings and giving up two hits and no runs.

Mike Devereaux was the most productive offensive player driving in four runs, the last two in the ninth inning on his first home run of the spring. Devereaux, Luis Mercedes, and Leo Gomez had two hits apiece for the Orioles, who ran their spring record to 11-3.

Devereaux, Gomez, designated hitter Randy Milligan and right fielder Chito Martinez, along with Milacki, were the only "regulars" in yesterday's lineup. Cal and Bill Ripken, Glenn Davis, Chris Hoiles and Brady Anderson were among those spared the two-hour bus ride after the Tuesday night game against the Phillies that followed a two-day trip to Florida's east coast.

* SANCHEZ REASSIGNED: After yesterday's game, the Orioles announced that left-handed reliever Israel Sanchez had been reassigned to the club's minor-league camp.

Sanchez, restricted early in the camp because of arm problems, appeared in one game this spring. He allowed two hits and one run in two-thirds of an inning. Last year he was 6-2, with two saves and a 3.42 ERA at Triple-A Rochester, where he figures to open this season.

* BAT MAN: Mercedes had to negotiate a trade to keep his current favorite bat in play yesterday. While batting in the third inning, the outfielder lost his grip and his bat ended up more than 20 rows into the stands behind the third-base dugout.

Attempts to retrieve the bat were fruitless, so Mercedes got another bat from the rack and had it delivered to an usher who was able to complete a straight-up trade.

* STILL ON THE ROAD: The Orioles are in the middle of their second three-game "road trip" in a week. Their only home game in that span was Wednesday night's 1-0 win over the Phillies.

* MCDONALD, RHODES NEXT: Ben McDonald and Arthur Rhodes were scheduled to face the Toronto Blue Jays at Dunedin today. Tomorrow afternoon Mike Mussina will pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals in the regularly scheduled afternoon game, with Jose Mesa pitching a morning "B" squad game, also against the Cardinals.

Both of tomorrow's games will be played at Al Lang Stadium, the field the Orioles share with the Cardinals, who will be the home team.

* CAUTION WITH POOLE: Jim Poole, who made his preseason debut Monday night, is scheduled to make his second appearance of the spring today against the Blue Jays.

After being sidelined for three weeks with shoulder tendinitis, Poole is being brought back with caution. He worked one scoreless inning against the Yankees in his first game and won't pitch any longer than that at least until his third outing.

* RUN STRING BROKEN: When the Twins scored in the seventh inning yesterday, it broke a string of 21 consecutive scoreless innings by Orioles pitchers.

The string, which included a 10-inning shutout against the Phillies, went back to the fourth inning of Tuesday's 8-3 win over the Montreal Expos.

* STARTERS AMAZING: Milacki's five scoreless innings yesterday continued an amazing stretch by the Orioles starting pitchers. They have allowed only four earned runs in 45 innings, an ERA of 0.80.

The Orioles have outscored the opposition 47-9 in the first five innings of their 14 exhibition games. Today marks the midway point in the club's 30-game preseason schedule.

* HORN FINALLY BACK: Sam Horn, the last player to appear in a game this spring, made his debut yesterday as Milligan's replacement as the designated hitter. Horn, who has been sidelined with a pulled hamstring muscle, went 0-for-1 and drew a pair of walks.

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