An awful lot to like as O’s end awful skid

Trembley, Matusz, Wigginton finally give fans something to smile about

I turned on the game and saw players lining up and smiling and fist-bumping each other.

I saw the manager beaming and congratulating his coaches.

Naturally, I thought: Wrong game. I'm looking for the Orioles.

But these were the Orioles, believe it or not, breaking that horrible nine-game losing streak Sunday with an 8-3 win over the Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.

"Good for the team, great for the fans," Dave Trembley said to Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer on the MASN post- game show. "Now we can go for the pennant drive."

Yes, he was smiling when he said that, too.

No, he hasn't lost his mind, although managing the Orioles and watching them lose day after day in ever more creative ways would drive anyone crazy.

Which leads to this thought: With the Orioles up by five runs in the ninth inning and Jim Johnson on the mound, how many Orioles fans kicked back on the couch and thought, "Well, we've got this baby wrapped up"?

Are you kidding?

These are the Orioles. Nothing's ever wrapped up until it's wrapped up — and even then you wonder whether they'll find a way to blow it.

As Johnson took his warm-up throws to begin that inning, MASN broadcaster Rick Dempsey appeared on the post-game set with his fingers crossed.

He wasn't the only one. All of Orioles Nation was holding its breath — at least the fans who still care about this team and aren't already focused on whom the Ravens take in the NFL draft this week.

If you're looking for one of the few bright spots to this dreadful Orioles start, it has to be the pitching of Brian Matusz.

The kid was terrific again Sunday: eight hits in 6 1/3 innings, eight strikeouts and just one walk to run his record to 2-0.

"He has very good tempo, he doesn't get rattled, he was in control of the game," Trembley told Thorne and Palmer.

Yeah, that's the thing you have to love if you play behind Matusz: He works quickly.

The guy pitches like he has a plane to catch in five minutes.

And his stuff is just nasty. Twenty-three strikeouts in three outings this season — that's dazzling for a rookie.

Apparently the A's hitters had watched film of him in his last start for the Orioles and came away hugely impressed, too.

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