On the final day of spring training, Cleveland's Albert Belle, the Houston Astros and the fans of Washington all sent a message.
Belle, who didn't have a job at the start of March, hit his major league leading 11th exhibition home run as the Indians beat the Cincinnati Reds at Columbus, Ohio.A crowd of 43,264 showed up at RFK Stadium on Sunday to watch the exhibition finale between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. The weather was splendid, just as it was for the 37,458 fans at Saturday's game between the same teams in Washington.
Miami drew bigger crowds - more than 125,000 - to two exhibition games there last week, but John Akridge, chairman of the group attempting to bring baseball to Washington, was undaunted.
"Because our tickets were much more expensive than Miami's, I expect it'll turn out that our gross equals theirs," he said.
The NL will pick two teams for expansion from the short list of Washington, Miami, Denver, Buffalo, Tampa-St. Petersburg and Orlando.
In the game, Randy Kutcher doubled home John Marzano with the tie-breaking run in the ninth inning as the Red Sox rallied to beat the Orioles 6-5.
At Kissimmee, Fla., Dave Rohde singled three times, scored two runs and drove in another to lead Houston past Philadelphia 8-0. The victory helped the Astros end their most successful exhibition in franchise history.
Houston finished at 17-10, equaling a victory mark they had reached in 1962, 1984 and 1988. But their .630 winning percentage was their best in 30 seasons.
Most are picking the Astros to finish last after losing veterans Glenn Davis, Franklin Stubbs, Danny Darwin and Dave Smith.
Braves 7, Cardinals 2
At Louisville, Ky., Greg Olson doubled home two runs to spark a five-run fourth inning as Atlanta beat St. Louis. Atlanta (15-12) broke a 1-1 tie with the big inning. Terry Pendleton drove in two runs with a single and Olson then followed with the two-run double.
Angels 6, Dodgers 4
At Anaheim, Calif., Luis Sojo's two-run double highlighted a four-run second inning as California beat Los Angeles. The Dodgers finished the preseason with a 15-18 record and the Angels finished 13-15.
Padres 4, Mariners 1
At Las Vegas, Andy Benes gave up no hits in five innings and Shawn Abner hit a two-run homer, leading San Diego over Seattle. The Padres open their regular season Tuesday night in San Diego against the San Francisco Giants, and Seattle meets the California Angels in the Kingdome the same night.
Athletics 7, Giants 6
The Oakland Athletics got two RBIs from winning pitcher Mike Moore and used four San Francisco errors to take the Bay Bridge series at Candlestick Park.
The Athletics ended a 19-inning scoring drought against the Giants in the fourth inning, taking advantage of three errors for a 6-0 lead. The Athletics, who got 11 singles, won without an extra-base hit while the Giants had six among their eight.
Beavers 9, Twins 2
At Fort Myers, Fla., Paul Sorrento's three-run homer highlighted a six-run second inning as Class AAA Portland defeated Minnesota. Sorrento went 2-for-5 with four RBIs. Chip Hale was 2-for-4 with two RBIs for Portland. Charlie Scott allowed one run on five hits in six innings for the victory.
In some roster moves Sunday, outfielder Pete Incaviglia, released by Texas last week, agreed to a one year deal with the Detroit Tigers.
Incaviglia, 27, hit .233 with 24 homers and 85 RBIs last season with the Rangers. He struck out 146 times.
Incaviglia said he was released because of a personality conflict with Texas manager Bobby Valentine and not his ability on the field.
- The Philadelphia Phillies acquired left-handed reliever Mitch Williams from the Chicago Cubs for minor-league pitchers Chuck McElroy and Bob Scanlan.
- The Toronto Blue Jays sent outfielder Rob Ducey to Class AAA Syracuse of the International League. Ducey hit .267 in 127 games with Syracuse last season before being promoted to the Jays. He hit .302 in 19 games with Toronto.
- The Reds reached the 25-man roster limit by sending relievers Kip Gross and Gino Minutelli to the minors and signing left-handed free agent Don Carman.