Cardinals 8, Orioles 2

The Baltimore Sun

One last time

Jeremy Guthrie took his final turn in the rotation before opening the 2008 season Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays at Camden Yards. Making his fifth spring start, Guthrie blanked the Cardinals for four innings before they scored twice in the fifth. Matt Albers replaced him with one out, two runners on base and the score tied 2-2. Both inherited runners scored against Albers. Guthrie loaded the bases with one out in the first, but he retired the next two hitters without a run scoring. Guthrie set down eight of nine batters before the fifth, when the defense failed him.

No outs in outfield

The fifth inning began with a single by Aaron Miles. Then it got a little crazy. Skip Schumaker followed with a fly ball to left that eluded Jay Gibbons, who made a diving attempt and didn't come close to catching it. Schumaker ended up on third base with a run-scoring triple. With one out, Albert Pujols lifted a fly ball to center. Jay Payton tried to snare it and make a throw to the plate - practically in one motion - but he dropped the ball for an error. Gibbons dropped a fly ball near the left field line in the seventh, and the runner later scored.

Who's got next?

One day after Brian Burres made a strong pitch for the fifth starter's job with 5 1/3 scoreless innings against the Florida Marlins, Albers, who is trying to stay ahead of Burres, struggled for 1 2/3 innings in a relief role. He didn't do himself any favors by allowing three hits - including two doubles - before Greg Aquino took over in the seventh. Albers wasn't charged with a run because he inherited Guthrie's mess, but he caught a break in the sixth when pinch hitter Brian Barton singled and eventually was tagged out in a prolonged rundown. The play was scored 9-4-1-6-2-5. It lasted longer than Albers' appearance.

On deck

The Orioles have one more trip on their South Florida schedule, and it's a grind. They'll make the three-hour bus ride up Interstate 95 to play the Washington Nationals in Viera. The Orioles have won all three games against the Nationals this spring by a combined 26-14. They'll meet again Saturday night in D.C. Steve Trachsel starts for the Orioles today in his final exhibition appearance. He has allowed 10 earned runs and 19 hits in 13 innings. John Lannan starts for the Nationals, but he's not expected to make the 25-man roster.

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