Confusion at first
The Orioles caught a break in the fourth inning when the Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman was called out after reaching first base on an errant throw by shortstop Miguel Tejada. Tejada fielded Zimmerman's leadoff grounder cleanly, but his throw sailed over the head of first baseman Kevin Millar. Zimmerman reached the bag safely, but Millar tagged him out after he appeared to turn toward second base. Orioles starter Steve Trachsel retired Dmitri Young and Ryan Church to close out the inning.
In the seventh, the Orioles used solid two-out hitting to turn a 4-2 deficit into a 5-4 lead. Washington starter Matt Chico looked to be on cruise control after striking out Brian Roberts and Melvin Mora to start the inning but left the game after Nick Markakis drilled a pitch off the top of the right-field scoreboard. Jesus Colome relieved Chico and walked Tejada. Ray King relieved Colome, and Aubrey Huff singled Markakis home. A double by Jay Payton off Jon Rauch scored Tejada and Huff for the 5-4 lead.
4-for-5 night for Payton
Payton showed a mix of hustle, skill and luck in his 4-for-5 performance at the plate. In the sixth inning, he made it to second base on a pop fly that fell in front of left fielder Church. The next inning, Payton drove in two runs with a shot to the left-center-field gap. Naturally, it was Payton who singled in pinch runner Freddie Bynum to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth ... on a checked swing.
Jeremy Guthrie (3-1, 2.70) will start tonight as the Orioles look to avoid a three-game sweep. The rookie right-hander was excellent in his previous start against Washington, striking out 10 and allowing four hits over seven innings May 19. He took a no-decision in that game, a 3-2 Orioles win in 11 innings. His opponent is right-hander Jason Simontacchi (3-4, 5.44), a hard-luck loser in the clubs' May 18 meeting. He allowed three earned runs over six innings in the Orioles' 5-4 win.