Highlights and lowlights from the Orioles' 9-7 victory over the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers, Fla.
UP - Mike Mussina: Bring on Opening Day. Now.
UP - Calvin Pickering: Five RBIs. Is Rochester big enough to hold him?
DOWN - Javier de la Hoya: Well, Mussina was a tough act to follow.
UP - Jerry Hairston: Who is this guy, Joe Morgan?
DOWN - Buddy Groom: An error didn't help, but the three hits and walk were all his.
UP - Jesus Garcia: A strong performance by any name.
DOWN - B. J. Surhoff: An 0-for-4 wasn't even his biggest headache.
Hairston and Garcia had three hits each, combining for more than half the Orioles' 11. Garcia also stole a base and scored twice. Hairston scored twice and drove in a run. Rich Amaral went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Calvin Pickering drilled a three-run homer and added two more RBIs. He also scored twice. Ryan Minor doubled in his only at-bat. Greg Myers, starting in place of Charles Johnson, contributed a two-run single in the seventh inning that loomed larger once the Twins began to rally.
Mussina was in midseason form, allowing only two hits in four shutout innings. He didn't walk a batter, struck out three and needed only 39 pitches to complete his day's work. "It probably felt better than it should have," he said. None of the relievers got away clean. De la Hoya gave up two runs and two hits in the fifth. Groom allowed three runs (one earned) in the sixth, Al Reyes permitted a run in his two innings and Mike Trombley served up a leadoff homer to Robin Jennings in the ninth. The Twins put two more runners on base before Trombley recorded two strikeouts and got a huge defensive play from Hairston to end it.
Mussina has thrown seven consecutive scoreless innings. Pickering's home run came off former 20-game winner Brad Radke. He also connected off Radke during an exhibition game here two years ago. Calvin Maduro will start for the Orioles today against the Texas Rangers in Port Charlotte. Jose Mercedes, Mike Timlin, Chuck McElroy and Rafael Pina are scheduled to follow. Former Oriole Floyd Rayford, who coached at Single-A Frederick last year, is a coach for the Twins' Single-A Quad City affiliate.
Quote of the day
"In a sense, I think he's right. You give the major-leaguer with the most experience the benefit of the doubt." -- Hairston, supporting manager Mike Hargrove's assertion that Delino DeShields has earned the edge in the competition at second base.