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The only thing that changes about the Orioles' season, it seems, are the names.

Like a lifeguard throwing the drowning man an anchor, the unhelpful Baltimore bullpen helped sink another game last night, this time, 7-4, to the Mariners in Seattle. This time, it was Chad Bradford and especially John Parrish combining to cough up a 4-3 lead in the eighth just a day after O's closer Chris Ray gave up a game-ending, two-run homer in the ninth. The Orioles' losing streak is now at four.

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This time, the victimized starting pitcher was Erik Bedard, who scuffled through six innings, throwing more than 100 pitches but held the Mariners to three runs as Baltimore nursed a one-run lead. Relief pitcher Jamie Walker pitched a scoreless seventh, but then the 'pen reverted to form with Ichiro Suzuki doubling in the go-ahead run off Parrish.

*  In the unsung hero department -- no, we're not talking about the Orioles -- is Tampa Bay starter James Shields, who incredibly is 5-0 for the otherwise struggling Devil Rays. Shields, who beat Kansas City, 4-2, last night, has accounted for just over one-fifth of his team's victories. Tampa Bay is 24-31 and tied with the Yankees for fifth in the AL East (and whodda thunk we'd be saying that in June).

* Our friends to the north are nearing despair as the Ottawa Senators moved closer to disappointing an entire nation by stumbling, 3-2, to the Anaheim Ducks last night and are one game from losing the Stanley Cup finals. The Ducks took at 3-1 series lead with the finals headed back to Southern Cal as  Anaheim's Andy McDonald scored twice. But what is intriguing about all this is that a team from Canada, where the sport is actually appreciated, has not won the Cup since the 1992-93 Montreal Canadiens. Meanwhile, the Ducks are on the verge of becoming the third straight American Sunbelt team, joining Tampa Bay and Carolina, to win the NHL title.

* And basketball coach Billy Donovan, who led the University of Florida to two straight NCAA championships and was the announced coach of the Orlando Magic for about 20 minutes, apparently is getting himself out of the Orlando deal, but he'll also have to agree to a non-compete clause of sorts. It seems the Magic is insisting that Donovan not coach in the NBA for five years.

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