MIAMI -- Right-hander Bob Milacki had a little trouble getting started yesterday, but he got a lot of help from his friends in the Orioles' 11-7 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Joe Robbie Stadium.
Milacki gave up five runs in the top of the first inning, but he was awarded the victory for a seven-inning performance that was better than his pitching line might indicate.
He was charged with six runs on seven hits -- the biggest blow a towering, three-run homer by designated hitter Derek Bell -- but he gave up just a run on three hits in his last six innings and became the first Orioles pitcher to go seven innings this spring.
"I made some good pitches, and I made some bad pitches," said Milacki, whose spring record improved to 3-1. "I could have gotten out with two runs in the first inning and it would have been a very good outing, but I made a bad pitch and the three-run homer put it to shame."
Manager John Oates didn't like what he saw in the first inning. He saw too many first innings like that last year. But he liked the way Milacki made the necessary adjustments and kept the club in the game.
"He stayed on one side of the plate in the first inning," Oates said. "He was pitching everyone away. You've got to crowd some of these guys inside. You've got to work both sides of the plate to win at this level, and he is capable of doing that."
The five runs in the first inning equaled the number of runs Milacki had given up in his first five games combined, but he did not seem particularly concerned that he struggled in his second-to-last game of the spring.
"I felt really good," he said. "I could have gone another inning. I threw just under 90 pitches. The first inning was just a case of falling behind to some hitters. Sometimes, maybe you need to get into a jam to work out of it."