Sluggish O's still win 4th in row


The Orioles won their fourth consecutive exhibition game, waiting until the sixth inning to get their first hit and rally past the Montreal Expos, 2-1, in Viera, Fla. One day after piling up 15 runs and 20 hits in Port St. Lucie, the Orioles were more sluggish yesterday. Britt Reames allowed two runs and two hits in the sixth, the Orioles' entire offensive output until Jose Leon's double in the ninth. Brian Roberts belted a pinch-hit home run leading off the sixth and Jerry Hairston later scored on a grounder to first baseman Wil Cordero, whose throw sailed past catcher Michael Barrett. Hairston had singled, stole second and moved to third on Barrett's throwing error. Making his first spring start, Rick Helling allowed one run and six hits in three innings. He needed two double plays to minimize the damage. Closer Jorge Julio made his first spring appearance, and the Orioles welcomed him by committing two errors in the seventh. A double play and strikeout prevented the Expos from tying the game. They also wasted two walks off Bill Pulsipher to open the eighth. Former Oriole Damon Buford popped up against Mike Drumright to end the game and strand the tying run at second base.

Who's hot

Brian Roberts: Couldn't stand the shame of being no-hit by the Expos.

Mike Mohler: Two strikeouts in a perfect inning. No shortage of candidates for third lefty job in bullpen - if such a role even exists.

Tony Armas: Five strikeouts in three innings for the Expos starter. At that point, the Orioles' offense was in the stadium lost-and-found in Port St. Lucie.

Who's not

Gary Matthews: Three at-bats, three strikeouts. Paid tribute to a Canadian opponent by getting the hat trick.

Rick Helling: Should have been arrested for littering the bases.

Cordero/Offerman/Buford: The Expos' lockers should sit curbside once a week for all the recycling they do.

Injury report

Pitcher John Stephens was scratched from yesterday's game with a pulled right groin muscle. ... Catcher Brook Fordyce was given one more day to recover from a sore throat.

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