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More trouble in the Bronx: Derek Jeter shoved A-Rod back on the field for a curtain call after today's game. A press conference is scheduled for 7 p.m.

OK, really, five games into a season would seem premature to describe a particular loss as devastating, but this one really hurt.

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The Orioles should have been guaranteed of at least taking two of three from the Yankees, with Erik Bedard going for the sweep tomorrow. One out away. One strike away. And then Alex Rodriguez hits a grand slam.

Brutal.

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And now I'm wondering if the Orioles can pick themselves up and win tomorrow. We'll learn a lot about their character.

I sat in the parking lot of Princeton Sports in Columbia, waiting for the game to end before heading inside. My friend said something like, "A-Rod's going to strike out." And this was before Ray had thrown a pitch. With the count 1-2, I'm getting slapped on the arm and reminded, "I told you! I told you!"

And then...well...you know what happened next.

I punched my friend in the mouth.

No, seriously, I had to laugh because it was such a ridiculous way to lose. A two-out rally that's fueled by a walk and a hit batter. I could hear the Yankee Stadium crowd getting ready to boo A-Rod unmercifully. One guy was ready to throw a battery - the one he took out of his car. But they love A-Rod now, don't they? Until the next time he strikes out.

Ray and Danys Baez were having issues this spring trying to find the proper arm slot. They must still be searching.

That's how this one was lost. Not so much by Chris Ray's two-out meltdown, but by Baez letting the Yankees get back in the game. As any Orioles fan can attest, you need a large margin for error when you play there. One-run leads in the late innings disappear like wallets on 42nd St.

Note to Freddie Bynum: You won't always have to bat against the best closers in baseball. It just seems that way.

Bynum, kept because of his defense and speed, is 0-for-3 this season - against Joe Nathan (twice) and  Mariano Rivera.

I can't wait until he has to face Rollie Fingers in 1974.

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