O's rookie Smith continues spring assault

March 18, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Sun Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA — ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- When Mark Smith departs from the Orioles' spring training camp, he will go with the knowledge that he made a definite impression.

The rookie outfielder, whose two extra-base hits in the late innings sparked a comeback win over the St. Louis Cardinals on Tuesday, struck again last night. With one out in the 11th inning, Smith hit his first home run of the spring, a two-run blast that hit halfway up the left-field foul pole, to give the Orioles a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

The win was the fourth in a row for the Orioles (6-9) and second in three games against the Phillies (7-7).

As impressed as manager Johnny Oates was with Smith, who raised his average to .450 (9-for-20), he was even happier about the Orioles' pitching. "The difference in the past three games has been the pitching," he said. "It's starting to come around and when you get good pitching, you have a shot."

Ben McDonald became the second Orioles pitcher to go five innings, giving up three hits and one run while striking out four one night after Jamie Moyer went five shutout innings. "He used all of his pitches and looked like he was comfortable with all of them," said Oates.

Mark Williamson, bidding to keep his job in the bullpen after having to accept a minor-league contract, pitched two perfect innings. The veteran right-hander has given up one run in eight innings for a 1.13 ERA.

All of the Orioles scoring came via home runs. Harold Baines hit his second of the spring to tie the game in the second inning and Tim Hulett hit his first in the fifth.

Lee Smith gave up a tying run in the ninth on a pair of ground ball singles and a sacrifice fly.

Roger Mason (0-2) took the loss, giving up a leadoff single to Damon Buford before Smith hit his game-winning home run. Earlier, former Oriole Curt Schilling had pitched six strong innings.

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