Game in review

March 23, 1998|By Roch Kubatko

Highlights and lowlights from the Orioles' 3-2 victory over the Montreal Expos yesterday in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Ups and downs

UP: Cal Ripken. Two more strong defensive plays at third, almost forgotten after the three-run homer.

EVEN: Joe Carter. Committed an error and was picked off, but also singled twice. He likes to diminish the importance of spring training stats by showing how they don't appear on the back of his baseball cards. His two hits yesterday make his average (.190) more suitable for print.

UP: Scott Erickson. First Oriole to go seven innings. Other than a rocket from Brad Fullmer that cleared the right-field bleachers, he had the Expos beating the ball into the ground.

UP: Mike Bordick. As usual, Erickson kept him busy. As usual, the Orioles shortstop was up to the challenge, handling everything cleanly. Got in a week's worth of fielding practice.

UP: Charlie Greene. Blocks two balls in the dirt in the ninth inning, once throwing out a runner trying to advance to second after the errant pitch strikes Greene in the neck. If he doesn't make that play, the tying run scores on Derrick May's double.

UP: Frank Robinson. Given the task of finding ways to speed up games, he can use this 1: 54 beauty as a blueprint.

The bats

They did just enough to help raise the Orioles' spring record against Montreal to 5-0, getting all four hits off Expos starter Carlos Perez. Ripken and Carter had two apiece. Carter's two-out single in the fourth preceded Ripken's blast over the left-field fence. Otherwise, the only sound heard from Orioles bats was silence.

The arms

This must come as news to the Expos: Erickson insists he still has much to work on, including his changeup and cutter, getting first-pitch strikes and finishing off hitters. Erickson threw 72 pitches in seven innings, then fired off some more in the bullpen. He allowed both runs and five hits, walked one and struck out one. Norm Charlton gave the club another scoreless inning. Miller removed left-hander Jesse Orosco after a leadoff single in the ninth, then waited for Armando Benitez to escape a jam and record his second save. After a runner was thrown out trying to advance, Benitez got a groundout and then put two men on via a double and walk, before retiring Orlando Cabrera on a fly ball to left. Benitez hasn't allowed an earned run in 9 1/3 innings.

The rest

Eric Davis originally was written into the lineup as the right fielder, with Carter serving as designated hitter, but they changed places when Davis reported some mild stiffness in his legs. Carter was charged with an error in the first inning when he misplayed Mark Grudzielanek's single. Roberto Alomar returned to the club and started at second base. He was given permission to miss Saturday's game against St. Louis so he could attend to personal business in Puerto Rico. Ripken backhanded a smash from Vladimir Guerrero from his knees in the third inning and threw to first for the out. As Expos catcher Chris Widger grounded to shortstop in the second inning, his bat exploded into three pieces. Pitcher Nerio Rodriguez turned 25 yesterday.

Quote of the day

"I just came here to help the team win. As long as we win, I'm happy. Every time I call my family, the first thing they ask me is, 'Did you win?' They don't ask me, 'Did you play?' " -- Ozzie Guillen.

Pub Date: 3/23/98

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