Ponson hit hard in defeat

Marlins 8, Orioles 7

Baseball

March 16, 2003|By Joe Christensen

The Orioles lost for the seventh time in their past nine games yesterday, 8-7, as the Florida Marlins pounded starting pitcher Sidney Ponson for six runs on eight hits in five innings. Ponson had trouble with his breaking pitches, and the Marlins pounced. Al Martin hit a three-run home run and Todd Hollandsworth hit a bases-empty shot deep into the right-field bleachers. Marlins starter A.J. Burnett, who had seven strikeouts and allowed one hit in four innings the last time he faced the Orioles, was less dominant this time. The Orioles had four hits when Burnett was pulled in the third inning with stiffness in his right forearm. The offensive highlights for the Orioles waited until the end, when Marty Cordova hit two bases-empty home runs and Larry Bigbie crushed a three-run shot into the top row of the right-field bleachers. All three of those homers came against Marlins reliever Tim Spooneybarger.

Who's hot

Larry Bigbie: Two monster home runs in two days and a team-leading 11 RBIs.

Jeff Conine: Two singles and a triple yesterday, though the Orioles had to cringe watching him leg out the triple. That's how he pulled his hamstring last year.

Marty Cordova: Suddenly tied for the team lead with two homers.

Who's not

Sidney Ponson: Had been solid all spring until yesterday, when he must have traded his "warrior mentality" for a Golden State Warrior mentality.

Jeff Reboulet: David Segui's injury opened up a roster spot, but Reboulet will have to make it on his track record if he keeps hitting .091.

Mixed reviews

Jack Cust: He has an RBI in each of the past two games. But if the Orioles decide they need another left-handed bat on the roster with Segui injured, Bigbie looks like the better bet.

Injury report

Tony Batista: Batista was scratched, but this time it wasn't his tender right knee. Batista had a sore throat and a 102-degree temperature, and Hargrove said it will probably be a few days before he's back in the lineup.

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