Play It Again

May 18, 2008|By ROCH KUBATKO

A recap of the Orioles' 6-5 victory over the Nationals last night:

Toughing it out

Brian Roberts appeared to suffer an injury in the third inning when he fouled a ball off his left leg. Roberts hopped out of the batter's box and was grimacing as head athletic trainer Richie Bancells rushed out of the dugout. He dropped to the ground, and it looked as if the Orioles had lost their leadoff hitter and second baseman. But Roberts continued his at-bat and doubled to left field, stole third base with a headfirst dive and scored on Melvin Mora's single.

Picking up the pace

Nick Markakis hit his team-leading eighth home run, a 395-foot shot to center field in the third that increased the Orioles' lead to 4-1. Markakis didn't hit his eighth homer last season until May 30. It took until Aug. 14 for him to reach that total during his rookie season. Markakis finished with 16 homers in 2006 and 23 last year.

Not staying on base

Sometimes, it appears that the Orioles are trying to find new and creative ways to make outs on the base paths. They ran into two more last night. Alex Cintron singled in the second inning but broke too soon on a stolen-base attempt and was thrown out by first baseman Aaron Boone after pitcher Odalis Perez attempted to pick him off. Adam Jones earned more style points, however. He reached with two outs when Boone dropped Perez's flip on a slow roller to the right side. But Jones, assuming that Boone held on to the ball, tossed his helmet to the ground and rounded the bag. Upon realizing his mistake, he failed to get back safely.

On deck

The Orioles conclude their first interleague series this season with Jeremy Guthrie looking to win his third consecutive decision. Guthrie doesn't have a decision against the Nationals in two career games, but he has allowed only two runs in 14 innings, with two walks and 15 strikeouts. Left-hander John Lannan, who dominated the Orioles in a spring training start, gets the nod for Washington.

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