Jakubauskas and Berkman meet again (updated twice)

That was a nice eight-pitch top of the first inning for Orioles right-hander Chris Jakubauskas.

Pop up, strikeout. fly ball.

It can be a pretty simple game. Throw strikes and work quickly. Command your fastball and good things usually will happen.

Lance Berkman stepped to the plate in the top of the second, which must have brought disturbing flashbacks for both men. Jakubauskas’ only major league start in 2010 ended after a Berkman line drive slammed off his head. Jakubauskas was pitching for the Pirates and Berkman played for the Astros.

This time, Berkman walked with the count full to end a nine-pitch battle.

Instant update: Colby Rasmus hit a 408-foot homer to give St. Louis a 2-0 lead in the second inning.

Update II: The Cardinals scored twice in the third inning. Berkman’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and no outs increased St. Louis’ lead to 4-0. David Freese bounced into a 6-3 double play. Jakubauskas has allowed four hits, walked one and struck out two. He’s thrown 47 pitches.

Jakubauskas has impressed manager Buck Showalter since spring training.

“Everybody needs that swing guy, and Jak, he’s definitely a guy from a makeup standpoint... I think it tells if you look at his background, what he’s been through,” Showalter said. “He just says, ‘What do the Orioles need me to do today to help us win a game or will make me valuable?’ He’s got his spikes on after the fifth inning ready to pinch run. When he’s in long relief, (he’s like), ‘You need me to take a work day today or not so I can be available if we go extra innings?’ It may not sound particularly starlet-like or whatever, but it’s something that’s very valuable, in the American League especially, to have that guy that can do multiple things.

“Sometimes, he won’t always stat up well because of the way he’s used in those roles. He’s one of those guys that says, ‘Here it is. Let’s see what you’ve got. Here’s mine.’ Players like playing behind him because of his tempo and his strike-throwing. I think it really helps out the crispness of the game. St. Louis, who is leading the National League in hitting, might have something to say about that. We’ll see.”

The Cardinals made a change to their rotation. Left-hander Jaime Garcia is starting tomorrow night instead of right-hander Jake Westbrook. That could mean a rare start for Nolan Reimold.

The Diamondbacks will release former Oriole Melvin Mora tomorrow, according to manager Kirk Gibson.

A reminder that fans have until tomorrow night at 11:59 p.m to vote for players for the All-Star game. Click here if you’re interested.

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