For the second straight game, a young Orioles starter was not very sharp and left the Orioles facing a steep deficit after only a few innings pitched. For the second straight game, the Orioles bullpen was called upon starting in the fifth inning. For the second straight game, the bullpen held the Washington Nationals scoreless for the remainder of the game. And for the second straight game, the Orioles came back for the win.
Starter Brad Bergesen did not pitch especially well. He gave up five earned runs on six hits and two walks in only four innings pitched in his first start after returning yet again from AAA. Though the game had all the makings of a blowout loss, the bullpen held strong: Mark Hendrickson (2.0 IP), Jason Berken (1.1 IP), Will Ohman (0.2 IP) and Alfredo Simon (1 IP and the save) combined to allow only two baserunners across five innings pitched, which allowed the Orioles bats to come alive.
Adam Jones opened up with a solo home run in the fourth inning, his 12th of the year. The ball landed in the front row of the left field seats, but that was good enough to get the Orioles on the scoreboard and extend Jones' hitting streak to seven games. In the fifth inning, the Orioles pulled off the unusual feat of scoring four runs off of five hits. Hits with RISP - what a concept! The O's were 3-10 with RISP on the day but all of those came in the fifth, netting four RBIs on hits from Miguel Tejada (three-hit game), Nick Markakis (two hits, one walk), and Matt Wieters (three-hit game).
The score stayed even at 5-5 for only a couple of innings. Luke Scott stood on first base after a fielders' choice and showed the value of taking the extra base. On a Wieters single, he hustled from first to third and was rewarded for this diligence by a Drew Storen wild pitch. Luke easily scored the go-ahead run on the play, marking two straight games where the Orioles were victorious on fluky plays, but this season we will take what we can get.
Before the game, the Orioles were celebrating the 40th anniversary of the 1970 World Series Championship. Both the O's and the Nats were in Turn Back The Clock uniforms, with the Nats wearing old Washington Senators-style uniforms. Perhaps the O's harnessed all the good karma from the reunion of the players from that championship team - including manager Earl Weaver, and Hall of Famers Brooks and Frank Robinson and Jim Palmer, non-Hall of Famers like Boog Powell and many more.
Whatever it was, the Orioles recorded their third straight victory and clinched their first series win since mid-May. Tomorrow, Jeremy Guthrie will take the mound for the Orioles in their attempt to go for the sweep. The Nationals starter is rookie Luis Atilano, who's managed a 6-4 record with a 4.52 ERA. At 3-9 with a markedly better WHIP pitching against AL competition, Guthrie is not amused.