This, that and the other

For fans and media types who are freaking out over the rotation's poor showing the past two games, second baseman Robert Andino offers a little reminder.

"Our pitchers aren't machines, either," he said. "It's a grind. You're going to have your ups and downs, but we'll come back out tomorrow and play again. You can't stress one game."

Baseball doesn't offer mulligans, but I'm giving one to the Orioles last night after their 17-inning game on Sunday.

"No one here is going to make excuses," said shortstop J.J. Hardy. "They've got a good lineup. It's no secret. Were we tired? Possibly. Possibly. I mean, we played six hours and seven minutes (Sunday), then a flight back. I'm not saying that's what happened is we were tired, but maybe."

Just say it. The guys were fried and they were flat.

Hardy has eight hits in his last 12 at-bats, raising his average to .235.

"The last two days, results or no results, I feel better at the plate," he said. "It nice to be able to get some hits, but at the same time, I feel better."

Nick Markakis must not be feeling good at the plate. He was 1-for-14 in Boston and he went 0-for-3 last night. He went 22 games without a home run before connecting May 2 in New York. His average is down to .230.

Markakis hit into a double play to end the first inning, hit into a fielder's choice after Hardy's leadoff single in the fourth, and grounded out to end the sixth after Andino homered with two outs and Hardy doubled.

Mark Reynolds committed his sixth error last night, and it also came on a bad throw. He's not rushed, but he can't hit his target. The ball bounces or it's wide. And if he knew why it happened, he'd stop it.

Disappointing crowd last night, with the paid attendance announced at 11,938. I know, I know, it was a Monday night and kids are still in school and blah, blah, blah.

The Orioles returned home with the best record in baseball after a 5-1 road trip and they're playing the two-time defending American League champions. Where the heck is everybody?

Manager Buck Showalter rattled off all of Tommy Hunter's ailments yesterday, going back to spring training. The back, the oblique, the toe, the bad cold. Hunter told me yesterday that he's fully recovered from everything. He's not blaming health for his demotion.

"Physically, I feel good, finally," he said. "Toe's all healed up. Everything's good to go. It's just a matter of time before I figure things out and go from there.

"Back's fine, side's fine, everything's going smoothly. I finally felt good."

So what happened Sunday?

"I threw three, four innings, where I felt pretty darn good and then pitches got up a little bit, couple broken bats, a terrible walk and leaving a first pitch up," he said. "You can't pitch in the big leagues doing that. They made me pay and tied the game up. Seventeen innings later, we're walking away and getting on a happy flight."

His trip out of Baltimore yesterday was much more subdued.

Hunter needs to pitch down in the zone. He's been elevating the ball.

"It sucks," he said. "That's something I've been working on and I haven't been able to do it. I'm going to continue to work on it. I've got to keep the ball down. It is what it is. Go to work and see what happens."

Nolan Reimold is back with the team. He'll eventually leave again to go on an injury rehab assignment.

Dana Eveland didn't allow a run in five innings last night for Triple-A Norfolk, but he was pulled from the game after 63 pitches. Are the Orioles keeping him available for a possible start on Friday, which would require him to work on three days' rest?

Eveland didn't walk a batter and struck out four. He's allowed nine earned runs in 36 2/3 innings this season, and only two in his last 13 innings.

Keep in mind that he's not on the 40-man roster, so the Orioles would have to make room.

On the same night that the Rangers' Brandon Snyder had three hits, including a home run, and drove in a career-high six runs against his former team, Jai Miller hit a long home run for Norfolk.

The connection? The Orioles acquired Miller from the Athletics for cash considerations on Jan. 3 and made room for him on the 40-man roster by trading Snyder to the Rangers for cash considerations.

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