Bradford, Guthrie Struggle in Loss

The Orioles were able to overcome an abnormally-weak outing by Jeremy Guthrie (4 2/3 IP, nine hits, six runs, two walks, three strikeouts, and two homers) last night and even score a run against Mariano Rivera in the ninth inning to force a late tie. But on nine pitches, Chad Bradford undid all of the good as the Birds lost to the Evil Empire, 7-6, last night in the Bronx.

After retiring Andy Philips to start the bottom of the ninth inning, Bradford hit Melky Cabrera, gave up a single to Jason Giambi and then the game-winning single to Derek Jeter.

The top of that inning, though, was a little less straightforward.

Melvin Mora singled to center and then advanced to second on a Ramon Hernandez ground out. But when Tike Redman hit a single to shallow center, Mora tried to score and was out by a mile at home. Brian Roberts then singled, and Redman — who had advanced to second on the throw home — scored. But if Mora had held up, the O’s could have enjoyed a lead. At the time, it seemed that Mora made the right decision to try to score. But once Roberts singled, Mora’s attempt to score looked a little too aggressive.

Third base coach Juan Samuel shouldered the blame for the move.

“They were playing very shallow and I think it was a really poor decision by me,” Samuel said in the Sun. “That was my decision that cost us the ballgame. Yes, we tied, but you can’t predict what’s going to happen next. You have to make your decision on that particular play, and that was a bad one by me.”

The O’s started off strong by scoring three in the top of the first — on a wild pitch, a Miguel Tejada RBI single and another run scoring when Kevin Millar grounded into a double play. But the Yankees struck back with two in each of their first two at-bats and added another run in the bottom of the fourth.

Corey Patterson, celebrating his 28th birthday, homered in the top of the fifth before the Evil Empire got another run in the bottom of the stanza. The Birds got one back in the top of the seventh (scoring on yet another wild pitch) — setting up the wild ninth.

The O’s other pitchers last night — Brian Burres, James Hoey, and Jamie Walker — retired all 10 batters they faced.

Meanwhile, J.R. House was recalled yesterday to take the place of Jay Gibbons — who is out for the rest of the year with a shoulder injury.

Finally, negotiations with first-round draft pick Matt Wieters are not going well. The O’s still have until midnight tomorrow to make it official — so hopefully PBO Andy MacPhail and rationalize with Scott Boras and complete a deal.

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