Game in review

March 13, 1998|By Roch Kubatko

Highlights and lowlights from the Orioles' 8-3 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla.

Ups and downs

UP: Jimmy Key. Pitches three shutout innings and contributes a two-run double. All that was missing was speed on the base paths.

UP: Harold Baines. Gets reacquainted with right field and turns back the clock.

DOWN: The front office. Losing Steve Montgomery for nothing. What a waste.

up: Jim Foster. Manager Ray Miller wanted to give Foster some at-bats. Foster apparently wanted to make sure he'd get some more.

UP: Mike Bordick. Moves up to eighth in the order because of National League rules and goes 2-for-4 with an RBI, a walk and a stolen base. Put him at cleanup and stand back.

DOWN: The pace. A Kent Mercker outing vs. molasses: It's molasses by a nose.

The bats

They were tingling with the news that Mercker was pitching. The Orioles collected three doubles in Mercker's two innings and built a 3-0 lead. By the end, they had 14 hits, including six doubles. First baseman Jim Foster doubled twice, singled and knocked in two runs. Cal Ripken reached base four times, including a double, and Roberto Alomar singled from the right side. Each stroke from Alomar erases another doubt. P.J. Forbes built on an impressive spring by singling in his first at-bat, leading off the seventh inning, and bringing home the Orioles' last run on a fielder's choice in the ninth.

The arms

Key didn't cruise, but he didn't stumble, either, against a tough right-handed hitting lineup. He allowed no runs and three hits in three innings, walking one and striking out four. Key threw 60 pitches, then went to the bullpen to reach his limit of 75. Right-hander Chris Fussell was successful until he began rushing in the fifth. He loaded the bases, and Ron Gant cleared them with a double that cut the Orioles' lead in half. Doug Johns chipped in two shutout innings, allowing one hit and walking one. Jesse Orosco pitched a scoreless eighth, walking one, and Armando Benitez retired the side in the ninth.

The rest

Orioles starters have a 0.53 ERA in the past four games (one earned run in 17 innings). Baines, normally the designated hitter because of bad knees, played five innings in right field. He ran down Gary Gaetti's long fly ball to end the fifth. "It was a tough wind today. He played the ball well. He was a major-league right fielder for many years," Miller said. With the hit-and-run on, Bordick stole second base in the second inning before Key's double.

Quote of the day

"Guys got on me for not going to third. I figured it was better not to go to third base and get injured. Then we've got pitching problems." -- Pitcher Jimmy Key after hitting a double to the wall over a drawn-in outfield.

Pub Date: 3/13/98

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