Seven HRs help stretch win streak to six

ORIOLES NOTEBOOK

March 19, 1994|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Sun Staff Writer

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- In their first 13 exhibition games, the Orioles hit 12 home runs. In two split-squad games yesterday, they combined to hit seven.

Chris Hoiles was the only one to connect in the game against the Twins, hitting his first of the spring in a 5-2 win. In Winter Haven, the Orioles connected for six homers to win a slugfest from the Cleveland Indians, 20-8.

The victories extended the Orioles' exhibition winning streak to six games, giving them an overall record of 8-9.

Lonnie Smith (his second of the spring), Sherman Obando (third) and Jeff Tackett (first) each hit a three-run homer in the win over the Indians. Tim Hulett (second), Chris Sabo (second) and nonroster catcher Craig Faulkner (first) had bases-empty shots.

Mills starts again

Alan Mills made his fourth start of the spring against the Indians, giving up four hits and two runs in the first three innings. The right-hander's continued role as a starter has increased speculation he could be a candidate to join the rotation.

However, neither manager Johnny Oates nor pitching coach Dick Bosman went to Winter Haven, preferring instead to watch Mike Oquist work four scoreless innings against the Twins.

Mark Smith drives in two more

Mark Smith continued to swing an opportunistic bat, driving in two runs with a second-inning single in the win over the Twins. The rookie outfielder, whose two-run homer beat the Phillies, 4-3, in 11 innings Thursday night, has seven RBIs.

The night before, before his game-winning home run, Smith had an interesting conversation with hitting coach Greg Biagini. "He was wondering if he should be trying to hit more home runs to improve his chances [of making the big-league roster]," said Biagini.

"I told him that he shouldn't just be thinking about home runs, but to pick his spots and go for it. He had two spots last [Thursday] night -- he missed on the first one, but not the second."

Gomez on display for Twins?

Gary Scott, one of the Twins' third base candidates, had a rough day 1esterday, committing three throwing errors. The first two led to three unearned runs.

The Twins are in the market for a third baseman, and the Orioles have one, Leo Gomez, available. It wouldn't be surprising if the teams talked about a deal before spring training is over, but there haven't been any serious discussions to date.

However, the fact that Gomez was in the lineup against the Twins and is scheduled to make the trip for today's rematch in Fort Myers might not be a coincidence. Gomez, who has hit two home runs this spring, went 0-for-3 yesterday.

Voigt plays it safe

In the ninth inning of the Orioles' win Thursday night, the Phillies scored the tying run on a fly ball to medium left field with runners onfirst and third. The ball appeared to drift on Jack Voigt, who couldn't get into proper position and threw to second base, to prevent the go-ahead run from advancing, rather than to home in an effort to prevent the tying run.

Oates understood Voigt's reasoning on the play, but with extra innings looming, he would have preferred to see a play at the plate.

"In that situation, I would rather he throw the ball home -- the umpire might've missed the call," Oates said jokingly.

Rhodes, Mussina up next

Arthur Rhodes is the Orioles' scheduled starter this afternoon against 1the Twins. He will be opposed by right-hander Pat Mahomes.

Tomorrow afternoon, Mike Mussina will pitch against the Phillies, who will counter with right-hander Ben Rivera.

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