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Robert Andino: Slump buster

Before you give all the credit to Ty Wigginton for jumping on Derek Lowe in the first inning, consider how important Robert Andino has been in this game so far. He's made a couple of big defensive plays, and his smart swing in the second inning might just end up being the key to the Orioles holding on and winning this game.

Andino (shown leaping Brian McCann on Friday night) reached out and poked that breaking ball into right field to push the runner to third base and bring up Brian Roberts, who also did a nice job of hitting to lift a hard sinker into right field for an RBI single. Andino also bailed the O's out of another baserunning mistake after Roberts was picked off first.

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The three runs in the first inning were big, of course, but the reason the Orioles are so far below .500 is because they have been hard-pressed to tack on runs after an initial rally. The two runs in the second will be the decisive runs if they break their Sunday jinx today -- just wait and see -- and Andino had a hand in both of them. He also drove in the first run of the third inning by working Lowe for a bases-loaded walk. Don't know about you, but this guy is starting to grow on me.

Associated Press photo

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