Pearce homers, Gonzalez talks (Pearce makes team)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Steve Pearce took another swing today at winning the last spot on the Orioles’ 25-man roster.

Pearce hit his seventh home run after striking out in his first two at-bats. He cleared the fence in left field to increase the Orioles’ lead to 7-1.

Pearce also has driven in 18 runs this spring. He’s batting .340.

Conor Jackson hasn’t played today and we’re in the top of the eighth.

Miguel Gonzalez turned in his finest start, holding the Mets to one run and one hit over five innings.

“The Mets have a good lineup,” Gonzalez said. “I’m happy I did what I had to do and we’re happy that we ended this way.

“I’m feeling pretty good about myself. I’m looking forward to the season. It’s been a long spring training for us and we’re ready to go and start off in Tampa.”

Gonzalez didn’t treat this game any differently.

“I take all the games seriously,” he said. “I think you have to go out there and be yourself and work hard.”

Brian Matusz and Mark Hendrickson each threw a scoreless inning, allowing no hits and striking out one. Darren O’Day is working the eighth.

The Orioles drew 120,455 fans this spring, a new franchise and Ed Smith Stadium record. They broke last year’s record of 115,506.

Today’s game attracted 7,642.

Update: Darren O’Day retired two batters in the top of the eighth and was replaced by Jairo Asencio, acquired from the Brewers this spring. Asencio struck out Aderlin Rodriguez, and we’re headed to the bottom of the eighth with the Orioles still leading, 7-1.

The Orioles are out-hitting the Mets, 11-1.

Update II: Jim Johnson retired the Mets in order in the ninth and the Orioles end the exhibition season with a 7-1 win.

Update III: There’s no more doubt about the Orioles’ final roster spot.

Pearce has made the team over Jackson, who was reassigned to Norfolk. Also, Hendrickson will pitch at Triple-A for the Tides.

Kyle Hudson will play center field at Double-A Bowie.

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