When the Orioles brought Vladimir Guerrero to the plate in the fifth inning, pinch hitting for Zach Britton with men on second and third, it was the right decision. And it paid off - Guerrero drove in a run with a single, providing the first of two Orioles runs in that inning that tied the game at four.
But the move came with a cost; it exposed Baltimore’s mediocre bullpen to the Nationals for up to four innings. And in the first of those innings, the Nationals made the Orioles pay.
Wilson Ramos started the inning by drawing a walk off Jeremy Accardo. He scored on the next at-bat, on a gutsy piece of baserunning from manager Jim Riggleman. He called a hit-and-run with Jerry Hairston Jr. at the plate and none out, and Hairston squared up a pitch as Ramos took off, driving it to left field for a double that scored Ramos. Then, Accardo walked reliever Sean Burnett, who scored his second career run later in the inning on a sacrifice fly.
The Nationals now lead 7-4 in the seventh inning, and with a much deeper bullpen than the Orioles, they’d seem to have an advantage late in this game.
One other note: Ryan Zimmerman had to make a quick throw at the end of the sixth when Matt Wieters hit a grounder his way. He whipped an instinctive sidearm throw to Danny Espinosa at second, ahead of Adam Jones for the third out of the inning. Zimmerman didn’t have time to do much else, but his sidearm tosses are still much stronger than his new overhand thorws.