CARDINALS 12, ORIOLES 3

The Baltimore Sun

Unhappy return

Of the 15 batters that Adam Loewen faced yesterday, he retired only five of them and was gone before the second inning was complete. Loewen left with the bases loaded and two outs and the Orioles trailing 4-1. He allowed four runs and four hits, walked four and hit two batters. His only strikeout came against the last batter he faced. Five straight St. Louis hitters reached in the first inning. Albert Pujols belted a two-run homer to left-center field. The ball landed on the outfield grass on one of the back fields. Loewen, who missed one start because of discomfort in his left shoulder, threw 38 pitches in the first inning, when the Cardinals sent nine batters to the plate.

More struggles

Jim Johnson didn't help his chances of landing the fifth starter's job. Orioles manager Dave Trembley mentioned him as a candidate Tuesday, but Johnson was charged with five runs in 2 2/3 innings. He got the final out in the second to leave the bases loaded, but Cesar Izturis and Pujols had run-scoring singles in the third, and Troy Glaus added an RBI double. Johnson breezed through the fourth before allowing a single, double and sacrifice fly in the fifth. He was charged with another run after Dennis Sarfate entered the game. Johnson is expected to pitch again Sunday against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers.

The offense

Kevin Millar provided all the Orioles' scoring until the eighth, when Tike Redman's fly ball produced the third run. Millar's single with two outs in the first inning scored Melvin Mora, who doubled off Cardinals starter Brad Thompson. Third baseman Troy Glaus got his glove on the ball, but it trickled past him and Millar was credited with a hit. Unfortunately for Millar, he took a wide turn around first and was thrown out trying to get back to the bag. Millar hit his second home run of the spring in the fourth, connecting off Thompson with one out. He went 2 for 2 to leave his average at .333.

On deck

The Orioles play their only night game in South Florida tonight, and it requires a bus ride to Port St. Lucie to face the New York Mets. Jon Leicester will make one of the most important starts of his career as he tries to win a spot in the back end of the rotation. He's 0-2 with a 6.48 ERA in five appearances and has allowed a team-leading three home runs. Johan Santana, acquired from the Twins over the winter, starts for the Mets. Steve Trachsel will pitch a simulated game in Fort Lauderdale.

ROCH KUBATKO

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