Play it again -- Orioles 5, Nationals 4

May 19, 2007|By ROCH KUBATKO

Lineup choices

National League rules don't allow for a designated hitter, and manager Sam Perlozzo went against conventional thinking by starting right-handed hitters Kevin Millar and Jay Payton against Washington Nationals right-hander Jason Simontacchi. Left-handed hitters Aubrey Huff and Jay Gibbons were relegated to the bench. The moves were rewarded when Payton lifted a sacrifice fly in the fourth to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead, and Millar added a run-scoring single in the fifth for a 3-0 advantage.

Bad decision

The Nationals had a chance to rally in the fifth inning when Felipe Lopez singled with two outs and Cristian Guzman walked. Steve Trachsel bounced a pitch to Ryan Zimmerman, allowing Lopez to take third. Guzman attempted to advance to second, which wasn't a good idea. Catcher Ramon Hernandez retrieved the ball and fired it to second baseman Brian Roberts, who waited to apply the tag. Guzman didn't even bother sliding.

Roberts delivers

Roberts matched his career high with four hits, including an eighth-inning single that provided a crucial insurance run. Roberts drove in Melvin Mora with two outs and increased the Orioles' lead to 5-2, before Zimmerman hit a two-run homer off Danys Baez in the bottom half of the inning. Baez also gave up a game-winning two-run shot to Toronto's Troy Glaus in the eighth inning Monday. Last night, thanks to Roberts, his mistake didn't bring defeat.

On deck

Jeremy Guthrie gets another start for the Orioles, and this time he'll try to go the full nine innings and avoid any controversies. He's 2-1 with a 3.34 ERA and gaining a firmer hold on a spot in the rotation. He'll be opposed by Triple-A call-up Mike Bacsik, who's replacing injured starter Jason Bergmann (inflammation in right elbow). Bergmann is the fourth Nationals starter from the Opening Day rotation to go on the disabled list.

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