Befuddled birds

Changing teams and leagues didn't make Johan Santana any less imposing to the Orioles. The two-time Cy Young Award winner tossed six scoreless innings last night, scattering five hits, walking one and striking out seven. He fanned Luke Scott three times, twice looking, and catcher Guillermo Quiroz twice. Santana threw 87 pitches and left to a loud ovation after retiring Jay Payton to end the sixth and strand Aubrey Huff. Huff and Scott Moore singled twice against Santana, who held on to a 2-0 lead, and Luis Hernandez doubled. The former Minnesota Twin retired eight of the first nine batters he faced, and seven of the last eight.


Never too soon

The award for worst call in an exhibition game goes to first base umpire James Hoye, who ruled that a ball hit by Mets leadoff hitter Jose Reyes in the first inning bounced over the bag for a double. That would be fine if the ball hadn't actually been foul. Huff and Orioles starter Jon Leicester looked around after the play, as if waiting for someone to motion Reyes back to the batters box. As Reyes stood on second base, television cameras caught him saying, "Wow." He later scored on Carlos Beltran's single to right field. That ball was fair.


Forget the DH

One reason Santana offered for wanting to pitch in the National League was his desire to bat. Given that chance last night, he doubled to right-center field in the second inning and scored on Reyes' two-out single. Santana didn't get a cheapie, either. He drilled the ball over right fielder Jay Payton's head. Leicester was so agitated, he knocked over a plastic chair that sat in front of the dugout steps after the inning. At least he didn't punch a wall.

On deck

An announcement on the Orioles' Opening Day starter could come today, after Jeremy Guthrie starts against the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter and Steve Trachsel throws a simulated game in Fort Lauderdale. Guthrie has allowed three earned runs and nine hits in nine innings, with two walks and nine strikeouts. Trachsel has allowed 10 earned runs and 19 hits in 13 innings, with four walks and five strikeouts. Adam Wainwright will start for the Cardinals, who are 1-1-1 against the Orioles this spring. In their only Jupiter meeting, the teams played to a 2-2 tie.