Just when the Baltimore Orioles thought they were doing the most wrong, they were doing the most right.
First, they bused 70 miles and, on a windy field, lost a 6-4 exhibition game to the Atlanta Braves, the Orioles' fourth loss in five games.
Even better, they lost because they messed up two Atlanta trick plays, resulting in two Atlanta runs, and their own trick play, which cost them another run.
And before they had finished, they had allowed the Braves three stolen bases in four tries and made three errors. They also got only six hits -- two by pitchers (Mike Boddicker and Ken Dixon).
"Believe it or not, I'm not concerned," Manager Earl Weaver said. "It gives me a chance to bitch and harp and point out things. I like to bitch and harp and point out things."
Starting pitcher Boddicker, rocked for six hits, allowed no earned runs but left trailing, 4-2. Despite having allowed 12 hits and three earned runs in seven innings this spring, Boddicker has looked terrific at times and apparently has rediscovered his change-up, the pitch that helped make him a 20-game winner in 1984.
Whether he could have gotten the Braves out or not didn't matter after the third inning, when Atlanta took a 3-1 lead, thanks to a trick play and an Orioles error.
The inning began with shortstop Cal Ripken making an error on left fielder Terry Harper's ground ball. Harper went to second on a groundout and to third on third baseman Paul Zuvella's single to right.
With runners on first and third and one out, Atlanta Manager Chuck Tanner called one of the trick plays that helped his Pittsburgh Pirates win 57 games last season. Pitcher Rick Mahler laid down a bunt, and when Boddicker threw to first, Harper broke for the plate.
Leading, 3-2, the Braves pulled off another one in the fourth inning. With runners on second and third, second baseman Kelly Heath got himself picked off second base.
The goal is for him to get in a rundown, and during the rundown, Zuvella, the runner at third, is supposed to break for the plate.
The Orioles did everything right except second baseman Rex Hudler's throw to the plate was wild, allowing Zuvella to score.
Dixon tried a bit of trickery himself in the seventh with runners on first and third. He was trying to step off the mound, fake a throw to third, then spin and throw to first. But as he was stepping off the mound, he got his feet tangled. A balk was called, and the Braves had scored again.
Finding another silver lining, Weaver said: "The more mistakes we make, the better, because it gives me a chance to gripe. And who's suffering because of the mistakes? The pitching staff is. We're too fancy. Maybe, we're just too good."
Outfielder Mike Young (bruised wrist and palm) will have an additional X-ray taken Friday morning to make sure there is no broken bone.