Highlights and lowlights from last night's 5-0 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field.
UP -- Sidney Ponson: Surrendered three runs in five innings. The first was a fluke. The third was a bomb. Now about that 9-3 groundout.
DOWN -- Albert Belle: The right fielder (0-for-3) is a game away from leaving spring with only two homers.
UP -- Buddy Groom: Left-hander continues to improve one inning at a time.
DOWN -- NL dimensions: There's no better way to expose the Orioles' lack of speed. Braves double steal. Orioles double clutch.
DOWN -- Bat rack: Three hits Thursday. Five singles last night. This won't do in the American League.
Sidney Ponson lowered his 7.04 ERA and quieted some of the concern surrounding his difficult spring with a competent five-inning outing. He allowed a first-inning run on a flare to center and a two-out swinging bunt. Braves center fielder Andruw Jones won the Curacao vs. Aruba matchup with a home run to center field in the fourth inning. A quietly efficient camp continued for the bullpen. Buddy Groom and Tim Worrell tag-teamed effectively.
Retread Terry Mulholland blanked them for four innings. Delino DeShields attempted the impossible by trying to run on Mulholland in an abortive hit-and-run. He was tagged out in a rundown. The Orioles have been outhit by 20 and outscored by 35 runs this spring. An awkward hitter, Ponson slashed what appeared to be an opposite-field single in the fifth inning, but Brian Jordan's throw from right field beat the jogging pitcher by a step for the most embarrassing out of spring.
The Orioles make a 15-minute flight to Chattanooga, Tenn., this morning for an exhibition against the Cincinnati Reds. Center fielder Brady Anderson shed the air cast from his left ankle for several innings. Thrift said the Orioles were intrigued by the release of John Burkett by Tampa Bay but never made a bid for the right-hander. The Braves signed Burkett instead.
Quote of the day
"I'm not a hitter. I throw the ball 95 miles per hour, but I'm not a hitter." -- pitcher Sidney Ponson, on being thrown out at first on a ball he hit to right field