SARASOTA, Fla. — In their last game of the exhibition season in their first year at Ed Smith Stadium, the Orioles walked away a winner thanks to two players who will be keys for any potential success in 2010.
The Orioles beat the New York Mets 11-0 powered by third baseman and cleanup hitter Miguel Tejada's first homer of the spring, a grand slam in the fifth against Mets starter Jon Niese.
Tejada had three RBIs this spring, before topping that total with one swing. He added another RBI — his fifth of the day — with a double in the sixth. The Orioles also scored five runs in the sixth, led by Nolan Reimold's two-run homer against reliever Sean Green.
The game had been knotted in a scoreless tie, but the Orioles strung together five consecutive singles and Tejada delivered the big blow.
"It's good to see the last day of spring training and for me to do what I did today," Tejada said. "The season starts in a couple days, and I feel like I am ready."
Perhaps even more important, rookie lefty Brian Matusz, arguably the most impressive pitcher in Orioles camp this spring, continued his roll. He threw four scoreless innings, allowing three singles, walking none and striking out two.
A leading candidate for the American League Rookie of the Year, Matusz lowered his spring ERA to 2.59 in 24 1/3 innings pitched. He walked three and struck out 21. He'll pitch Thursday against the Tampa Bay Rays in his season debut.
"It was good," Matusz said. "I was able to get all four pitches going. It was great for me in keeping the walks down. It was huge. I only walked three guys the entire spring. That's what I wanted. I wanted to come out and throw strikes, get ahead of guys and get my work in. I feel like I progressed well, and I'm ready to get started for the year.
The Orioles finished their Grapefruit League schedule at 12-17-1. The regular season opens Tuesday at Tropicana Field. They drew over 100,000 fans in their first year in Sarasota after 14 seasons in Fort Lauderdale.
Brad Bergesen, who will start the Orioles home opener on Friday, will throw in a minor league game today at Ed Smith Stadium. Kam Mickolio, whose groin injury hampered his bid to make the Opening Day roster, will also pitch. The Orioles will hold a full-team workout on Monday afternoon at Tropicana Field before they open the season on Thursday at 7:05 against the Tampa Bay Rays.
-- Jeff Zrebiec