Here at Roch Around the Clock, I’d like to think that we’re a family. A bit on the dysfunctional side, but a family nonetheless.
“We Are Family!”

Maybe if placed in this context, the phrase won’t make you want to put your fist through a wall. Or snap Kent Tekulve like a twig.

I still see Omar Moreno’s wife blowing her whistle and waving her arms during the entire ’79 World Series, as the television cameras kept focusing on the Pirates’ family section. And I see Willie Stargell hitting a towering two-run homer off Scott McGregor in the sixth inning of Game 7, bringing a sick feeling to my stomach. It wasn’t supposed to end this way, not with the Orioles holding a 3-1 lead in games.

A 7-1 loss in Game 5 meant nothing, I kept telling myself. The Series is going back to Baltimore. The Orioles can clinch at home. Perfect!

Except they never did.

Often forgotten is how the Orioles actually held a 1-0 lead in Game 5 before the Pirates scored twice in the sixth off Mike Flanagan, twice more in the seventh and three times in the eighth. Pittsburgh manager Chuck Tanner’s mother died that morning.

The bats inexplicably went cold after Game 4. The Orioles scored two runs in the last 27 innings.

Quick quiz: Which Pirates pitcher was credited with the win in Game 7? Answer to follow.

Naturally, I’ll be at Camden Yards for all three games against the Pirates, their first visit to Baltimore since ’79. Brian Burres needs a solid outing tonight, and not only to end the Orioles’ two-game skid. He needs to prove that he still belongs in this rotation.

I’m looking forward to seeing Nate McLouth play for the first time, just to see what all the fuss is about. And I’ll try to duck inside the visiting clubhouse and shake hands with “fresh hands,” Chris Gomez, who got the nickname with the Orioles because he went so long between at-bats, his hands were always fresh.

Down on the farm, Double-A Bowie’s Jeff Nettles hit his 14th home run last night, tops in the Southern Division of the Eastern League. Chris Tillman allowed two runs and four hits in six innings, striking out eight. Ryan Keefer, once on the verge of winning a job in the Orioles’ bullpen before undergoing Tommy John surgery two years ago, allowed one hit over three scoreless innings to record his first save.

At Single-A Frederick, Timothy Bascom allowed two runs and seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Matt Wieters broke a 3-3 tie with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. Billy Rowell had an RBI double.

Scott Moore has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games for Triple-A Norfolk. Newly acquired left-hander Randy Kiesler makes his Tides debut tonight.

Meanwhile, we’re still waiting for Hayden Penn to come off the seven-day disabled list.

In an earlier entry, I wondered how the Orioles were going to slide Luis Hernandez into Norfolk’s lineup without taking too many at-bats away from Brandon Fahey. Believe it or not, Hernandez served as the designated hitter last night – batting ninth.

Quiz answer: Former Orioles reliever Grant Jackson.

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