Johnson hit hard

Gibbons hits homer

Marlins 8, Orioles 1

Baseball

March 23, 2003|By Joe Christensen

JUPITER, Fla. -- The Florida Marlins scored six first-inning runs yesterday against Orioles starter Jason Johnson and cruised to an easy 8-1 victory behind Josh Beckett. The first six Marlins batters reached base against Johnson before he finally got an out. Johnson settled down and allowed just four hits over the next four innings, but his spring ERA ballooned from 3.27 to 6.19. The Orioles managed one run on four hits against Beckett in five innings. Their lone offensive highlight came when Jay Gibbons smashed a home run to right field in the second inning.

Who's hot

Jay Gibbons: Drilled a home run off Beckett and then crashed into the right-field wall making a running catch to rob Ivan Rodriguez of extra bases. Not a bad second inning.

Ivan Rodriguez: Gave the Orioles another glimpse of what they passed up this past offseason, getting two hits and making two spectacular throws from behind the plate.

Who's not

Tony Batista: Made another lackluster effort on Juan Encarnacion's first-inning double down the third base line. He's hitting .419 this spring, but the Orioles fear he's letting his All-Star status go to his head.

Brian Roberts: Went 0-for-2, dropping his average to .227. Looks like another trip to Triple-A Ottawa awaits.

Mixed review

Jason Johnson: Before the game, Mike Hargrove said Johnson had won the fourth or fifth spot in the starting rotation. Six batters into the first inning, Hargrove felt like reconsidering.

Injury report

Hargrove said Johnson had nothing on his fastball and suggested that might be a sign of dead arm. This is another name for arm fatigue and is usually a temporary affliction for pitchers during spring training. ... Hargrove said reliever Travis Driskill was showing signs of dead arm yesterday, too.

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