Second look at second guesses

After scoring 20 runs during their eight-game losing streak, the Orioles have totaled 16 in the last two nights.

That's why it doesn't pay to panic. It's a 162-game season. The bats were bound to heat up.

Nick Markakis went 2-for-4 after falling into a 1-for-20 slump.

Vladimir Guerrero became the first Oriole to homer in consecutive games.

Just when I started to get used to Matt Wieters producing loud outs and looping base hits, he's now producing loud hits. He's driving the ball with authority. I guess that adjustment - standing more upright with his feet closer together - has paid off.

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I'd like to revisit two decisions last night that left manager Buck Showalter open to second-guessing, and later brought explanations that made complete sense.

Showalter removed Zach Britton after six innings and 88 pitches. Most nights, Britton returns to the mound in the seventh, but he's the latest Oriole to come down with flu-like symptoms. He was hacking and wheezing. Once the game ended, he was in dire need of medication and a blanket. The kid was worn out.

No way you run him back out there in the seventh with Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara and Kevin Gregg available and the Twins having scored twice in the sixth.

By the way, the two runs were delivered by Danny Valencia, who raised his career average against the Orioles to .435 in 23 at-bats.

The other questionable decision involved removing Johnson after eight pitches in a perfect seventh inning. Uehara allowed a run in the eighth before Gregg recorded the save.

Uehara hadn't given up a run in his first five appearances, and he surrendered only one hit in 4 2/3 innings. Also, Johnson had warmed up and was "fully hot," as Showalter calls it, two of the last three nights. He wanted Johnson available tonight, and an extended eighth inning would have eliminated that option.

It's easier to embrace the logic when the Orioles won.

Down on the farm, Rick VandenHurk's struggles in spring training have carried over into Triple-A Norfolk's season. He fell to 0-3 with an 8.16 ERA last night after allowing eight runs and eight hits in six-plus innings against the Gwinnett Braves. The last two runs scored with Mark Hendrickson on the mound.

Hendrickson wasn't charged with any runs in three innings, but he let the two inherited runners score.

Josh Bell hit his second home run, a solo shot off Scott Proctor.

Steve Johnson makes his second Triple-A start tonight.

Pedro Florimon hit his second home run for Double-A Bowie in a 3-0 win over Akron.

Xavier Avery went 2-for-3 and stole three bases. His 10 steals in 13 games lead the Eastern League by five.

"It makes it easier for my teammates to get RBIs when I get into scoring position," he said. "I love hitting leadoff because I feel like I'm the first guy that gets to go out and set the tone in that position."

Wynn Pelzer, making another start for the Baysox, allowed only one hit in five scoreless innings. He walked five and struck out six.

LJ Hoes and Tyler Townsend homered for Single-A Frederick in Game 1 of the Keys' doubleheader with Potomac. The teams split the twinbill.

Townsend is batting .324 with two homers and seven RBIs. His average dropped 40 points after he went 0-for-4 in the nightcap.

Single-A Delmarva's Manny Machado had a triple, two RBIs and two errors (one throwing, one fielding).


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