Battling to the end
It wouldn't be an Orioles game without a comeback. They were down to their last out, trailing 4-2, when Brian Roberts hit an opposite-field, two-run homer off Pirates closer Matt Capps to tie the score. Capps has blown three of his past four save opportunities, but he got the win yesterday after Adam LaRoche singled off George Sherrill to bring home Jason Bay in the 10th. Bay led off the inning with a walk and moved to third base on Ryan Doumit's single. The Orioles lost their designated hitter with numerous substitutions, and they eventually lost the game, but it was exciting.
LaRoche didn't appreciate Daniel Cabrera's fastball that hit him in the back during the Pirates' three-run third inning, and the expression on his face left no doubt. Cabrera had served up a home run to Nate McLouth, walked Bay with two outs and hit Doumit. After a wild pitch, Jason Michaels had singled in two runs. LaRoche then stepped to the plate, and Cabrera threw behind him. Plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth jumped in front of LaRoche, who glared at Cabrera, and directed him toward first base.
Melvin Mora was scratched from the lineup with a sore left knee, but he entered the game in the seventh inning as a pinch hitter for Freddie Bynum. The Orioles had runners on first and second with no outs and the Pirates leading 4-2. It appeared to be an obvious bunt situation, which Bynum probably could handle, but manager Dave Trembley went with the percentages and used Mora against left-handed reliever John Grabow. Mora took a strike, then squared to bunt and took another. He flied to center field, with the runners holding. A diving catch by McLouth in center field, after Grabow unleashed a wild pitch and Roberts struck out, prevented the game from being tied.
The Orioles have another day off before continuing their homestand tomorrow night against the Houston Astros (7:05). Shortstop Miguel Tejada returns to Baltimore for the first time since being traded to the Astros for five players, including outfielder Luke Scott and relievers Matt Albers and Dennis Sarfate. Left-hander Garrett Olson has been fine outside of Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park, where he had his only two losses in seven decisions. He will face Brandon Backe, who has lost his past three starts, allowing 14 runs in 15 innings.