Orioles 7, Expos 6

Rating the players

March 07, 2001|By Roch Kubatko

****

Tim Raines Jr.: Takes a Kodak moment and kicks it up a few notches. Nice PR move by the Orioles.

***

Josh Towers: Aided by a more consistent strike zone, Towers is much improved over his debut in Jupiter.

Jerry Hairston: Singles, steals a base and cuts down the potential tying run at the plate in the ninth.

Jeff Conine: Goes 2-for-4 with a triple and scores the winning run in the eighth.

**

Sean Douglass: Two shutout innings in relief of Jay Spurgeon, but allows a hit and walks two.

*

Jay Spurgeon: If this continues, he'll be fighting to make Triple-A Rochester's rotation.

The arms

Though dealing with mild discomfort in his lower left leg, believed to be shin splints, Towers exhibited better control than in Friday's opener in Jupiter. He allowed one run and two hits in three innings, with one walk and one strikeout. He did a better job of keeping the ball down, and the plate umpire did a better job of calling strikes. Spurgeon gave up four runs and five hits in two innings. Milton Bradley reached him for a two-run homer in the fourth. Douglass carried the Orioles through the next two innings before Miguel Felix gave up the tying run in the eighth on a pop-up that shortstop Brian Roberts couldn't hold after colliding with left fielder Carlos Casimiro. Juan Guzman got the save despite walking the first two batters, with Hairston lunging to cut off the throw toward second on a delayed steal and firing home for the out.

The bats

The Orioles had one extra-base hit, Conine's triple, among their eight hits. Conine also singled, as did Hairston, Raines Jr., Mike Bordick, Brian Roberts, Jay Gibbons (three RBIs) and Eugene Kingsale (two runs). David Segui walked with the bases loaded to force in a run. Luis Matos stole two bases before leaving the game with a dislocated shoulder.

The rest

Jose Mercedes, John Parrish, Ryan Kohlmeier and Jorge Julio will pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals today in Jupiter. ... Right fielder Wady Almonte threw out Geoff Blum trying to go from first to third on a fifth-inning single.

The quote

"I think Cal's getting closer. I talked to him yesterday and he seemed pretty optimistic about how it's feeling." - Manager Mike Hargrove on Cal Ripken, who still hasn't swung a bat while his fractured rib heals.

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