They made a movie about this recent Orioles' run, and it wasn't "Field of Dreams."

Nope, it would be "Groundhog Day" where the same unfortunate things happen over and over.  In the case of the Orioles that would be losing another close game in which they had a lead -- last night it was 2-1 to Toronto -- and leaving the field while feuding with each other.  And last nght, that would be pinch-runner Freddie Bynum and first bast base coach Same Mejias, of all people, yapping at each other.


The O's, losers of the last five, have three one-run losses and and a two-run defeat in this dispiriting stretch, and you might recall it was just two days ago that Melvin Mora and Jay Payton left the field having a tiff that nearly escalated into a punch-out.  OK, you can now officially start to wonder whether manager Sam Perlozo is losing control of the clubhouse.  Or you can wonder whether Perlozzo can motivate what appears to be an uninspired bunch.

But returning to "Groundhog Day," let's consider a potential silver lining.  By reliving the same 24 hours over and over, protagonist Bill Murray eventually learns from his mistakes.  Might we expect the same from the Orioles?

* The little morality play of an NBA playoff series between San Antonio and Phoenix was no comfort to anyone who thinks there's cosmic justice at work in the sports universe.

The Bad Guys, the Spurs, overcame a 16-point lead by the undermanned Good Guys, the Suns,  88-85, and took a very commanding 3 games to 2 lead considering Friday's game is in San Antonio.

The Suns were without star center Amare Stoudemire, who was sitting out a controversial suspension along with teammate Boris Diaw, for leaving their bench at the end of Game 4 when the Spurs' Robert Horry decked the Suns' Steve Nash. Stoudemire and Diaw never really got near the action and didn't throw any punches, but the NBA followed the letter of the law in dinging them a game.

Last night at home, the Suns appeared ready to make it all right anyway with a fast start, but San Antonio's Bruce Bowen, Public Enemy No. 1 in Phoenix, sank a three-pointer with 36 seconds left to break a tie.

* And in the closely watched Buffalo-Ottawa NHL Eastern Conference finals (at least in Fletcher's bar in Fells Point), the Sabres avoided elimination by hanging on for a 3-2 win after having led by three.  The series goes back to Buffalo Saturday with Ottawa leading 3 games to 1.