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This Orioles team is getting interesting. Now, there are two words you haven't seen together in the same sentence too often -- Orioles and interesting.

And please allow me a quick digression here, but LeBron James put on one of the great performances in NBA playoff history last night, one that has him being mentioned with Magic and MJ. But more on that later. First, we must give the O's their due.

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Baltimore won its sixth in a row, beating the Angeles, 6-2, last night on what has been a successful road trip so far. Riding a victory streak that's the team's longest in over a year, the Orioles have clawed their way to .500. And while no one dare utter the word "playoffs," they are actually within hailing distance (3 1/2 games) of wild-card territory.  Of course, the AL East is currently conceded to the Boston Red Sox, who are 10 games in front of second-place Baltimore.

Last night's pitching hero was Brian Burres (five innings, one run) and at the plate, Brian Roberts had three hits and two runs scored and Nick Markakis had three RBIs, including a two-run double in the fifth that helped break the game open. Even the bullpen (four different guys), despite some anxious moments, gave up just one run in four innings.

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* For sheer theatrics, the winner of the award for Best Performance in an Unnecessary Show of Outrage went to San Diego catcher Josh Bard, who went bonkers when his apparent home run in the top of the 11th against Pittsburgh was overturned and ruled a double. Bard, wearing some of his catcher's gear, charged out of the dugout, went ballistic on the umpires and was tossed from the game. His manager, Bud Black, followed him into banishment. Now, all this happened with the Padres already ahead, 3-2; Bard's pinch-runner wound up scoring anyway to set the eventual final score of 4-2, and both Bard and Black -- after looking at replays -- had to agree that the umps got the call right. Sheesh.

* Now, back to LeBron, who made a statement last night that officially puts him among the NBA's elite. Anyone who stayed up late to watch Cleveland's 109-107, double OT win over the Pistons in Detroit saw one of the most incredible playoff performances ever. James scored 29 of his team's final 30 points, including the last 25. But even those numbers don't tell the whole story. James did it driving to the hoop, he did it at the foul line with the heat on, and he did it from the outside with clutch and long-range jumpers, finishing with 48 points. The Cavaliers, who had been down 2-0 in the Eastern Conference finals, are now up, 3-2, and can wrap it up in Game 6 at home Saturday. Frankly, it has been James carrying them the entire way. And if he carries them one more time, the NBA Finals become a lot more interesting just for the opportunity to see more of King James.

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