WASHINGTON - -Orioles reliever Danys Baez isn't sure whether he has ever scored a run before.
Certainly not at the big league level. Certainly not the game-winner.
And absolutely, positively, never had he scored the game-winning run in a contest in which he also picked up the victory.
Not until Friday night in the Orioles' 4-2, 12-inning victory over the Washington Nationals in the first "Battle of the Beltways" interleague game of 2009.
Baez's two-out slapper bounced safely down the third base line and ignited a two-run rally that essentially halted a four-game skid for the Orioles (17-25). In normal instances - even in interleague play - Baez wouldn't have been at the plate. But the Orioles were down to one position player, Robert Andino, on the bench and needed to save him for an emergency.
"I was trying to make contact, just look for a fastball over the plate and make contact," Baez said about his first single in four big league at-bats that span seven years. "I got lucky, I made the right contact. The ball went to the right place."
Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman called off pitcher Kip Wells (0-2) because he didn't want to take the chance of a wild throw.
"For [Wells] to make that play, you don't want him to barehand and throw it right there, especially with two outs," Zimmerman said. "You've got to just take the single and hope you can get out of it."
Meanwhile, Baez chugged to first as the ball died in the infield grass.
"That was long. Real long," Baez said of his 90-foot sprint. "I have never been on those bases before during the game. For me, that was very nice to help the team to win."
Brian Roberts followed with his third hit of the game, a double down the line that bounced into the left-field seats. With runners at second and third, Adam Jones slashed another line-hugging double to left to break the 2-2 tie.
"I thought the infield hit by Baez kind of loosened the club up," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "And then once Roberts got the hit, you kind of felt like things were going in your favor."
Closer George Sherrill entered and picked up his eighth save with a perfect 12th, punctuating 6 1/3 scoreless innings from the Orioles bullpen - including two by Baez (3-1) and 1 1/3 from Matt Albers, who was recalled from the minors Friday. The Orioles' staff allowed a season-low four hits.
"I think you've got to give our entire pitching staff credit," said Jones, who had three hits and three RBIs. "They put up 11 zeros. There was only one big hit."
Left-hander Rich Hill, in his second start for the Orioles, again was superb, allowing three hits and two runs - on a two-run homer by Zimmerman in the fourth - while walking four and striking out six.
He was matched by Nationals rookie Jordan Zimmermann, who pitched a career-high seven innings and allowed two runs, an RBI single by Jones and rookie Nolan Reimold's second career homer.
It was the Orioles' second extra-inning win in three tries this season. The Nationals (12-29) are winless in six extra-inning games.
And Baez, who is keeping the ball from his first career hit, is 1-0 in games in which he pitches and scores.
"Everything happened at the right time, the right place," Baez said. "Everything was perfect for us today."
for Friday's game PG 4
Today, 7:05 p.m.
TV: MASN2 HD, Ch. 13
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