Why waste time?
Florida leadoff hitter Hanley Ramirez could have taken the first pitch from Orioles starter Steve Trachsel, but he chose instead to hit it so far, left fielder Luke Scott never moved. Scott turned his head only because he wanted to see where the ball landed - or if it did. With one swing, off one pitch, Ramirez gave the Marlins a 1-0 lead. Before Trachsel went into his windup, a press box comedian said, "This one's going to be a line drive through the box." After Ramirez swung, another voice chimed in, "Yes, if the box is 480 feet away." Trachsel retired the next three batters, striking out Mike Jacobs to end the first, but he surrendered another run in the second and three in the fourth. He was charged with five runs and six hits in four innings, walked two, hit a batter and threw a wild pitch.
The first nine Orioles were retired in order before a runner reached base. Where have we seen this before? In this instance, Brian Roberts walked against Marlins starter Rick VandenHurk to lead off the fourth. Jay Payton doubled, and both runners scored on an error by second baseman Dan Uggla, who caught Jay Gibbons' line drive and threw wildly to second. Payton ran through third base coach Juan Samuel's stop sign to tie the score. Kevin Millar followed with a long home run to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead. Two more Orioles reached on an error by Ramirez and a hit batter before the inning was complete.
Back and forth
The Orioles scored three runs in the sixth to take a 6-5 lead. Then they lost it at the blink of an eye. Luis Hernandez and Roberts had RBI singles, and the go-ahead run scored on a fielder's choice grounder by Payton. The Marlins scored twice in the bottom half against Jim Johnson, getting a leadoff double by Cody Ross, a one-out single by Jose Castillo and a two-out single by Robert Andino. It appears only a matter of time before Johnson is optioned to Triple-A Norfolk.
The Orioles play one more game before enjoying their only day off since camp opened. They will send Daniel Cabrera to the mound against the Washington Nationals at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. Left-hander George Sherrill also is scheduled to pitch. John Patterson will start for the Nationals. How long before someone asks Orioles manager Dave Trembley about the rivalry with the Nationals? The over-under is 30 seconds after Trembley begins his pre-game session with the media.