Loewen's high count
The Orioles couldn't squeeze more than 2 2/3 innings out of starter Adam Loewen yesterday because of his rising pitch count and ineffectiveness. Loewen didn't allow a run in his first two innings, but he needed a double play to escape a jam in the second. He wasn't as fortunate in the third, when right fielder Jeremy Hermida hit a three-run homer with two outs to break a scoreless tie. Loewen threw 55 pitches, 32 for strikes. His missteps in the third inning included three walks and an infield hit.
It took until the 11th exhibition game, but Aubrey Huff finally played in the field after twice serving as the designated hitter. Huff started at first base and seemed to be moving without any restrictions, another indication he has recovered from sports-hernia surgery. He also singled and scored in the fourth inning, and he scooped a throw out of the dirt from second baseman Eider Torres to complete a double play. Meanwhile, Jay Payton appeared in only his second game because he has been dealing with a severe case of bronchitis. He had two at-bats before going 1-for-2 with a single yesterday.
Marlins starter Ricky Nolasco retired the first nine Orioles before Chris Roberson led off the fourth with a double. Nolasco never made it out of the inning. Luis Hernandez singled to drive in Roberson, Huff singled, Mike Costanzo struck out and Jay Gibbons singled to score Hernandez. Those were the first runs Nolasco allowed in eight spring innings. He was charged with one more when Payton and Sebastien Boucher singled off reliever Doug Waechter. Roberson's double off Waechter in the fifth scored Torres and gave the Orioles a 4-3 lead.
The Orioles return to Fort Lauderdale Stadium today to play the Los Angeles Dodgers for the second time this spring. Their first game, in Vero Beach, ended in a 4-4 tie. Steve Trachsel will start for the Orioles, followed by left-hander George Sherrill and right-hander Chad Bradford. Trachsel has allowed two runs and six hits in five innings. The Dodgers are turning back the clock by starting Chan Ho Park.