3 HRs in first power O's to .500 spring

Orioles 7, Mets 3

Baseball

March 30, 2003|By Joe Christensen

NEW YORK - Jerry Hairston, Gary Matthews and Jay Gibbons all hit first-inning home runs, and the Orioles finished the exhibition season at .500 with a 7-3 victory over the New York Mets yesterday at Shea Stadium. Pat Hentgen, who will begin the season in the Orioles' bullpen, gave up a two-run homer to Mike Piazza in the first inning and left after the third. Jeff Conine had three hits for the Orioles, and Melvin Mora added his second home run of the spring. The Orioles finished exhibition play 14-14-1. Last year, they were 20-9.

Who's hot

Jerry Hairston: Entered yesterday on a 1-for-16 skid, but led off the game with a home run against the Mets' Jae Seo and added a double in the ninth.

Gary Matthews: Had home runs in consecutive at-bats, including a ninth-inning shot Friday that ended an 0-for-13 slump and yesterday's first-inning blast.

Jeff Conine: Went 3-for-5 yesterday, raising his spring average to.333.

Who's not

Tony Batista: Capped off a mediocre defensive spring by letting Roberto Alomar's third-inning pop-up fall to the infield for a single. That little dance he does after the first pitch is supposed to help him with those, isn't it?

Jose Morban: First at-bat for the Orioles resulted in a weak tapper back to the mound. Then he was back on the bench, where he figures to spend most of his time.

Pat Hentgen: Followed best start of the spring with another hiccup, giving up three earned runs in three innings, which left his spring ERA at 6.65.

Injury update

The Orioles received a scare when Jorge Julio took a smash from Ty Wigginton off his right biceps muscle in the fourth inning. The ball hit just above Julio's right elbow, but he finished a scoreless inning. The scoreboard showed Julio's fastball at 94 mph after the injury, but Mike Hargrove said the board was about 3 mph slow all day.

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