WASHINGTON - Oh sure, why not?
It’s really happening.
The Orioles are playing their major league-leading eighth extra-inning game of the season. They’ve won their last five, all on the road, after losing their first two at home. The Nationals are 4-2.
Manager Buck Showalter lifted Darren O’Day after the sidearmer retired all four batters he faced. I questioned the move in the press box, with O’Day cruising and extras looming, but Troy Patton retired left-handed hitting Adam LaRoche and Bryce Harper, so what do I know?
Bill Hall pinch hit for Patton with two outs and Wilson Betemit on second base in the top of the 10th, so Showalter will use his third reliever.
Sean Burnett walked Hall intentionally to get to Xavier Avery. Sure, go ahead and play with fire.
Avery struck out after hitting into a double play in the eighth. He had a walk, double and single before those at-bats.
Matt Wieters is 0-for-4 tonight and 4-for-35 in his last nine games.
Kevin Gregg will pitch the bottom of the 10th. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last six outings covering 8 1/3 innings. He tossed two scoreless innings Wednesday in Kansas City.
Update: Gregg hit the leadoff batter, got a pop up and induced a double play grounder. And Nick Markakis broke the tie with a home run off Ryan Mattheus with one out in the 11th.
The ball slammed off the facing of the second deck. A real no-doubter.
And here comes Pedro Strop, not Jim Johnson, to close out this one.
Johnson has posted saves in the last three games.
Update II: Strop hit a batter, threw a wild pitch on a strikeout and gave up a single, but the Nats didn’t score.
Orioles 2, Nationals 1.
Strop picks up his third save. He hasn’t allowed a run in his last 11 appearances covering 13 innings.
The Orioles’ lead in the American League East is two games over Tampa Bay, which lost tonight.
Seriously, are we having fun yet?