Ponson sharp in final exhibition game

Orioles 9, Phillies 2 : Philadelphia

April 04, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

PHILADELPHIA - Fourth starter Sidney Ponson held the Philadelphia Phillies to two unearned runs in six innings, and the Orioles got back-to-back homers from Javy Lopez and Larry Bigbie in a 9-2 win in the final exhibition game for both clubs.

Lopez hit a two-run shot in the fourth inning off Phillies starter Cory Lidle, and Bigbie followed with a drive to left-center field, as the Orioles scored four times to take a 5-0 lead.

With manager Lee Mazzilli clearing his bench, minor league third baseman Tripper Johnson had a two-run single in the eighth and minor league first baseman Woody Cliffords added a two-run homer in the ninth.

Ponson, who won't make his next start until Friday in New York, threw 96 pitches. He allowed six hits, walked two and struck out two.

"That was exactly what I wanted out of him," Mazzilli said. "His velocity, his sequence of pitches, it was everything you want. And he needed to stretch it out, which he did."

The only runs off Ponson came in the fifth on singles by Placido Polanco and Bobby Abreu. The uprising began after first baseman Jay Gibbons mishandled a bunt by Mount St. Joseph alum Gavin Floyd.

Who's hot

Sidney Ponson: The cold and rain wouldn't allow him to get a feel for his changeup and curveball, but he made the manager happy. He was due.

Woody Cliffords: Try telling him his at-bat didn't count.

Larry Bigbie: Led the club with four home runs this spring.

Lee Mazzilli: Protecting against injury, he managed to get everyone in the game except the clubhouse guard.

Who's not

Jay Gibbons: Committed his third error while trying to field a bunt. Mazzilli said he's leaning toward starting Rafael Palmeiro at first base in today's opener.

Injury report

Melvin Mora returned to the lineup after missing both exhibition games in Oklahoma City. Mora said his right hand remains sore after being hit by St. Louis pitcher Jeff Suppan during Wednesday's game in Jupiter, Fla., but that it doesn't affect his swing.

Sammy Sosa watch

Booed each time he came to the plate, Sosa struck out twice and flied to center before leaving the game. He batted .302 (19-for-63) with three homers and eight RBIs this spring.

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