Orioles 4, Cards 3

Rating the players

March 03, 2001

****

Jay Gibbons: One at-bat, one pitch, one huge swing. Happy 24th birthday.

Melvin Mora: He singles, hits a game-tying homer in the seventh and runs down a ball in deep center to keep Ponson perfect.

***

Sidney Ponson: Only a lack of command with his off-speed stuff keeps him from getting a perfect score. Nine up, nine down.

Mike Bordick: Collects two hits, including a fourth-inning double. Welcome back.

**

Josh Towers: Doesn't allow a run in two innings but is far from sharp. A pickoff prevents him from loading the bases in the fifth on a single and two walks.

*

Jay Spurgeon: Vying for a spot in the rotation, Spurgeon allows three singles and hits a batter in the sixth inning.

The arms

Ponson threw 19 of his 31 pitches for strikes while retiring all nine batters he faced. He struck out two and got four fly balls. Towers, normally a control specialist, fell behind hitters while walking two and allowing two hits in two innings. He got squeezed on a few low strikes. Spurgeon also went two innings, allowing two runs and four hits. Left-hander B.J. Ryan breezed through the eighth, and Rick Huisman got the save after allowing a ninth-inning run on two singles. He struck out Craig Paquette with the tying run on second to end the game.

The bats

They drifted to sleep until Gibbons shook up everything in the ninth with a tie-breaking, two-run homer off former Oriole Heathcliff Slocumb. The Orioles had four hits and a run through four innings. Mora's bases-empty home run off Mike James in the seventh wiped out a 2-1 deficit. He joined Bordick as the only Orioles with two hits. Luis Matos singled in his only at-bat and stole second.

The quote

"It's time for Sidney [Ponson] to step up. We espouse the theory that we don't come to spring training to prepare to play the season, we come to prepare to win. It's a subtle difference, but it's a difference. That's the way we try to approach it, and maybe Sidney's bought into that." - Manager Mike Hargrove -- Roch Kubatko Box score

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