First baseman Jason Wood hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning off reliever Freddy Deza to give the host Florida Marlins an 8-6 victory in the Orioles' exhibition opener in Jupiter, Fla. The Orioles, who got an ineffective start from Steve Trachsel, had tied the game at 6 with a run-scoring single by pinch hitter Luis Montanez in the fifth inning.
Pitchers are traditionally ahead of hitters at this point, but that wasn't the case yesterday, as the teams combined for 23 hits, 12 coming from the Orioles. Starters Nick Markakis, Corey Patterson, Chris Gomez and Jeff Fiorentino had two hits each.
At his self-deprecating best, Gomez wondered to reporters before yesterday's game about how much media attention would have been on him if he had gotten a hit in the season finale in Boston last year and entered the season with a 19-game hitting streak. The shortstop then went 2-for-2 with a two-run homer.
The Orioles will play their home exhibition opener today at 1:05 p.m. at Fort Lauderdale Stadium against the Marlins. Orioles left-hander Erik Bedard will start against Florida ace left-hander Dontrelle Willis. Rob Bell, Chad Bradford, Paul Shuey, Jamie Walker and Scott Williamson also are scheduled to pitch for the Orioles.