Texas hold ‘em (updated)

The Orioles almost scored the tying run in the fifth inning. Then they didn’t. Then they almost did again. They they didn’t.

John Russell held up his arms to hold Nick Markakis at third base on Derrek Lee’s two-out double into the left-field corner. Markakis, his head down, initially ran through the stop sign, then slammed on the brakes and started back toward third. The relay throw skipped past Rangers catcher Yorvit Torrealba, causing Markakis to take a few strides toward home again. He stopped and headed back to the bag when first baseman Mitch Moreland quickly retrieved the ball and fired to the plate.

Meanwhile, Lee was hung up between second and third, unsure where Markakis was going and whether he should run or retreat.

Vladimir Guerrero popped up the next pitch for the final out, leaving two runners in scoring position. You just knew it was going to happen.

Markakis had just rounded third when Rangers left fielder Josh Hamilton hit the cutoff man, and a good throw probably would have nailed him at the plate, but the Orioles are down by a run with two outs. I would have sent him and forced the Rangers to make a play.

Guerrero was 2-for-2 off left-hander Derek Holland, bringing the counter argument that he should have been given the chance to hit. And Russell had no way of knowing that the relay throw would almost end up in the Orioles’ dugout.

I still send him in that instance, but I’m sitting in the press box dodging foul balls.

Guthrie allowed singles to Michael Young - an infield hit - and Hamilton leading off the sixth, but he retired the next three batters. He’s thrown 84 pitches, 49 for strikes.

Guthrie has held the Rangers to one run and four hits. Would be nice if the Orioles could get him a much-deserved win.

Today’s attendance: 21,452

Update: Major props to Guthrie, who gutted out six innings and 84 pitches (49 strikes) less than a week after being hospitalized with pneumonia. He allowed one run and four hits, walked one and struck out one. No chance for the win. And it’s going to be trickier for the Orioles after Ian Kinsler’s two-run homer off Jim Johnson in the seventh.

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