It was a late-April game in a long season for a club that has already lost more than it has won, but Sunday afternoon's 8-5 victory over the Texas Rangers apparently meant something to the Orioles.
Something more than just an elusive Sunday win.
"I think there was a little bit of an urgency there," said second baseman Brian Roberts, who had four of the Orioles' 14 hits. "It wasn't going to be the end of the world [if Texas won], but we need to get something positive going, for sure."
After starting the season 6-2, the Orioles (9-10) had dropped eight of their past 10 and two straight at home to the previously struggling Rangers. Losing on Sunday would have resulted in their first series loss at Camden Yards this season.
"We didn't want to lose three games to these guys," said center fielder Adam Jones, whose three-run homer in the sixth inning against Jason Jennings (0-1) gave the Orioles the lead for good. "We know we are a good team. We have to go out there and do it."
Early on, it didn't look promising.
Staked to a 1-0 lead, Orioles rookie right-hander Brad Bergesen served up a towering two-run homer to Texas first baseman Chris Davis in the second. Three innings later, Bergesen yielded two more homers to the best power-hitting team in the major leagues.
Left fielder David Murphy ended an 0-for-23 streak with a 405-foot homer to left-center, and Hank Blalock followed two batters later with a two-run shot to center.
Bergesen, who allowed just one earned run in his big league debut Tuesday against the Chicago White Sox, gave up two more singles and was chased with two on and no outs in the fifth.
"I thought he was overthrowing," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "He didn't have his good sink. So that tells me he was probably either trying to overthrow or he was too strong."
Bergesen gave way to reliever Danys Baez, whose performance was a game-changer, according to Trembley.
"I told Baez before the game: You are in there and you are going to do a good job," Trembley said. "And he was nails."
Using a mid-90s fastball, Baez recorded a strikeout and flyout before an error by Ty Wigginton loaded the bases with two outs. But Ian Kinsler, who had been batting over .500 against the Orioles since 2008, grounded out to shortstop.
"The momentum of the game changed when he got out of the inning," Trembley said. "There was a different feel in the dugout when he got out of that inning. When we scored a couple, I think everybody felt like we were going to win."
The Orioles scored three in the bottom of the fifth against starter Brandon McCarthy, including Roberts' second homer of the season.
Jones followed with his third of the year in the sixth, and the bullpen held. Baez (1-1) threw three perfect innings, and Jim Johnson and George Sherrill (fourth save) preserved the win. It came on the heels of two consecutive one-run losses to Texas, including a ninth-inning blown save by Sherrill on Friday.
"It's a great win for us," Baez said. "We went through a lot of things in the past couple days."
The victory also marked the Orioles' first on a Sunday since Sept. 14 and just their fifth in their past 28 Sunday games.
"It was a real good game for us," Trembley said. "I mean, a real good game and a real important game for everybody."
Monday, 7:05 p.m.
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