A recap of the Orioles' 5-3 victory over the Nationals last night:
Almost hit for the cycle
For the Orioles to break a tie at 3 in the fifth inning, all they needed was a triple, double and single. Brian Roberts led off with a triple, the ball slamming off the out-of-town scoreboard in right field and bouncing back over Elijah Dukes' head as he gave chase. Melvin Mora followed with a fly ball to right-center that went for a double when Lastings Milledge failed to make a diving catch. Nick Markakis struck out and Mora got caught in a rundown on Aubrey Huff's grounder, but Kevin Millar drove in Huff with a single to left. Huff had moved into scoring position during the rundown.
Knocked around early
Three batters into his fourth start of the season, Orioles left-hander Garrett Olson needed a serious do-over. Felipe Lopez singled, Cristian Guzman doubled and Ryan Zimmerman drove them in with a single. Olson was behind 2-0 before breaking a sweat. The Nationals worked Olson for 23 pitches in the inning, but he retired Dmitri Young on a line drive to center field, struck out Aaron Boone, and got Milledge to pop up.
For the third straight game, Orioles manager Dave Trembley bypassed reliever Chad Bradford in the late innings with a right-handed hitter at the plate. He went with Jim Johnson in the seventh inning Tuesday with the bases loaded, no outs and Boston's Manny Ramirez due up. He called upon Matt Albers in the eighth inning Wednesday, and replaced Albers with Johnson in the eighth inning last night after Milledge reached on an infield hit. Trembley noted that Bradford warmed up during both Red Sox games, but Johnson was more likely to deliver a strikeout Tuesday, and Albers hadn't pitched in four days. Johnson also has the hot hand. He struck out the side after Milledge's single.
The Orioles' first interleague series of the season continues tonight (7:05 p.m.) with left-hander Brian Burres attempting to reach .500. He'll be opposed by left-hander Odalis Perez. Both pitchers have ERAs under 4.00, but they also have losing records.