Game in review

March 16, 1998|By Peter Schmuck

Highlights and lowlights from the Orioles' 5-2 victory over the New York Mets yesterday in Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Ups and downs

Ups: Eric Davis. Outfielder continued to hammer the ball, with two more hits -- a single and a long double -- and two runs scored. He raised his spring batting average to .484 and ranks among the league leaders in seven offensive categories.

Ups: Rafael Palmeiro. First baseman also went 2-for-3 and lined his first home run of the spring off the right-field foul pole. The three-run shot off Brian Bohanon broke a 1-1 tie in the third inning.

Downs: Cal Ripken. Went hitless in three at-bats, grounded into a double play and would have grounded into another if the relay had not pulled John Olerud off first base. Ripken is batting .250 with no homers and three RBIs.

Ups: Mike Mussina. Pitched five innings, giving up two runs on eight hits on the way to his first spring victory.

Ups: Sidney Ponson. Prospect pitched two innings of one-hit relief, striking out two and walking none. Ponson has given up two runs in 7 1/3 innings this spring.

The arms

Mussina continues to build arm strength in anticipation of his Opening Day assignment against Kansas City. He struck out only one batter, but pitched five solid innings. He is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in four spring starts. Ponson has struck out six in 7 1/3 innings. Doug Johns and Jesse Orosco each pitched one inning of scoreless relief. The strong overall performance dropped the club's spring ERA to 5.07, continuing a downward trend.

The bats

The Orioles had eight hits, four of them from Davis and Palmeiro. Davis hammered a double to center that short-hopped the fence to the right of the 410 sign and also added a single. He entered the game leading all major-league hitters with 15 RBIs, but did not drive in any runs. Palmeiro doubled his spring RBI total with his three-run shot in the third inning. He also raised his batting average to an even .300. Mussina even got into the act, driving in Chris Hoiles in his second plate appearance of the spring.

The rest

The Orioles play back-to-back games against the Florida Marlins at Fort Lauderdale Stadium, including their first night game of the spring tonight. Scott Erickson faces Marlins postseason hero Livan Hernandez in the first game. The game yesterday ended a seven-day stretch that included five road stops and 1,050 miles on the team bus.

Quote of the day

"Last year, he tried to be more than Rafael Palmeiro. But just being Rafael Palmeiro is plenty enough." -- Hitting coach Rick Down on the improved hitting approach of the first baseman.

Pub Date: 3/16/98

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