Taking the lead
Melvin Mora headed into yesterday's game tied with Nick Markakis for the club's spring lead in RBIs with 11. Mora surged ahead in the fifth with a two-run single that scored Paul Bako and Ruddy Yan. The Orioles took an early 1-0 lead when Aubrey Huff doubled in the second inning and scored on a Nationals error.
The Orioles and Nationals play four consecutive times to end spring training, but neither team has much of an edge. They played to a tie Wednesday, agreeing to end after nine innings. Yesterday they went 10 innings before pulling the plug at 3-3.
A minor help
Infielder Mike Cervenak already was reassigned to the minor league camp, but the Orioles kept him around to help on the interminable road trip leading up to Opening Day. He didn't exactly make the Orioles rethink his demotion yesterday. Cervenak, playing first base, threw away a potential double-play ball that fueled a Nationals' eighth-inning, three-run rally against reliever Danys Baez. Then in the top of the ninth, Cervenak popped up a potential sacrifice bunt.
Clinging onto a chance at a utility role, Freddie Bynum had one hit in one at-bat, raising his spring average to .149. But once again he made a nice play in the field, this time in left. In the bottom of the 10th, Kory Casto hit a fading line drive that Bynum dived for and caught.
The Orioles and Nationals play again today at 2:05 p.m. at the Orioles' new Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, Va. Orioles right-hander Jaret Wright faces Washington rookie left-hander Matt Chico.