Wednesday, July 20, 2005

MLB: Minnesota Twins 4, Orioles 3 (July 19)

WP: Jesse Crain (9-1)
LP: B.J. Ryan (1-3)

BAL: 50-43 (3rd in AL East, 1 behind Boston, 0.5 behind New York)
MIN: 50-42 (2nd in AL Central, 12 behind Chicago)

B.J. Ryan blew his second save in as many days and the Orioles couldn't capitalize on an opportunity to jump into first place in the American League East, falling to the Twins, 4-3.

With trade winds swirling around the Orioles clubhouse, the team continues to struggle to capitalize on opportunities, not only in the standings, but also on the field.

With the bases loaded and one out in the first inning and a run already in, B.J. Surhoff came up and grounded into an inning-ending double play. (I guess it was a bad night for B.J.'s, if there has ever been such a thing.)

Then, with a 3-2 lead, Ryan came in and failed to record the save in a sloppy ninth inning defensively.

With one out, Joe Mauer walked, and when he attempted to steal second while Shannon Steward struck out, catcher Eli Whiteside hurled a throw well over everyone's heads and into the outfield, allowing Mauer to move to third. With two outs and a man on third, Ryan threw a wild pitch and Mauer scored to tie the game.

A walk and a single later, there were men on first and third for Jacque Jones. Jones hit a grounder up the middle that Tejada ranged to his left to field, and made a solid off-balance throw on one hop to Rafael Palmeiro. But Palmeiro couldn't scoop the throw and the winning run scored. The play was ruled a hit.

With Boston's win over Tampa Bay and New York's loss to Texas, the Orioles are back in third place, exactly where they were two days ago.

The O's play the rubber match of this three game set this afternoon at 1:10. Rodrigo Lopez (9-5, 4.50 ERA, throws right) will look to continue his solid pitching for the Birds and grab his third straight win when he goes against Minnesota's Brad Radke (6-9, 4.00 ERA, throws right). Radke has lost five of six, but his last start was a complete game against the Angels in which he gave up two earned runs and took the loss. He hasn't given up more than four runs in the six game stretch.

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