Brian Roberts bounced out to second base in his first major league at-bat in nearly four months, but that certainly doesn't tell you the whole story of his contribution in the first inning of tonight's game against the Minnesota Twins.

Though Roberts did not reach base, his at-bat set the tone for what could have been a multi-run rally. He worked Twins starter Brian Duensing to a full count and forced him to throw seven pitches. Miguel Tejada even looked more selective when he followed Roberts to the plate and delivered a single. Then Ty Wigginton worked Duensing to a 3-1 count before getting squeezed out of a walk by home plate umpire Gary Darling.

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Of course, you remember Darling's blown call last night and the ugly aftermath that led to three Orioles being ejected from the game. Major League Baseball announced today that Wiggy has been fined and suspended for three games for bumping the umpire, but he has appealed and will continue to play until he has a hearing. Maybe it was a coincidence, but the 3-1 pitch that Darling called a strike was clearly out of the strike zone, and Wigginton flied out on the next full-count pitch.

Still, the Orioles picked up a run on back-to-back singles by Luke Scott and Adam Jones to take the early lead, and Duensing was forced to labor through the first inning on a very hot and steamy night at Camden Yards. Maybe it's a stretch to give Roberts a lot of credit for that, but it was just good to see somebody not wearing a Yankees or Red Sox uniform show some real plate discipline around here.

Instant update: Roberts has not been on base in four at-bats, but he has seen 24 pitches and taken the count to three balls in two of his plate appearances and saw at least six pitches in three of them. Nothing to get real excited about, but that kind of approach shortens the night for the opposing pitcher, and maybe presents some teaching moments for the younger hitters.

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