Game in review

March 09, 2000|By Roch Kubatko

Highlights and lowlights from the Orioles' 6-2 loss to the Montreal Expos in Jupiter, Fla.

DOWN -- Jason Johnson: Throwing too many pitches and unable to avoid the one bad inning.

UP -- Sidney Ponson: Vast improvement over his first start. And Jupiter usually isn't kind to him.

DOWN -- Chuck McElroy: Allowed two runs in the eighth.

UP -- Jeff Conine: Accounted for half the Orioles' runs and hits.

DOWN -- Ryan Minor: Hitless in three at-bats and commits an error.

EVEN -- Albert Belle: Provides a hit but also gets doubled off first.

The bats

They were quiet for a change. The Orioles collected only four hits, including two by Conine. They didn't get a hit until Conine's bases-empty homer in the fifth. Conine also doubled and scored on a groundout by Jesus Garcia.

The arms

Ponson unveiled a new slider taught to him by pitching coach Sammy Ellis, complete with a different grip. He had much better command than in his first start, when he allowed five runs (three earned) in three innings. He shut out the Expos over two innings yesterday. Jason Johnson, who is projected as the No. 3 starter to open the season, labored through two innings. Mike Timlin and Mike Trombley each had a scoreless inning, but McElroy wasn't as effective, allowing two runs.

The rest

Minor was robbed of an extra-base hit in the second inning by Expos center fielder Peter Bergeron, who doubled Belle off first base. Bergeron made a leaping catch at the fence to deny Greg Myers in the third. Second baseman Delino DeShields made a nice catch of a foul pop in the fourth. He stumbled over the bullpen mound, but still held onto the ball. Wady Almonte, pinch running for Belle in the seventh, was thrown out trying to steal by former Oriole Lenny Webster. Starters Mike Bordick, Will Clark, Cal Ripken, B. J. Surhoff and Charles Johnson didn't make the trip.

Quote of the day

"It's only his second outing. If he's still doing this at the end of spring training, then yeah, I'll be concerned." -- Manager Mike Hargrove on Johnson, who turned in another shaky start.

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