The Baltimore Orioles’ starters haven’t gotten much help from the bullpen lately, but hope that’s changing following their first win in a week.
The Orioles go for back-to-back victories as they continue their three-game interleague series with the Washington Nationals on Saturday at RFK Memorial Stadium.
During Baltimore’s just-ended five-game losing streak, the starters posted a 2.76 ERA, allowing three or fewer earned runs in each outing. The relievers, though, allowed opponents to hit .421 and had a dismal 15.75 ERA over that stretch.
Saturday starter Jeremy Guthrie (2-1, 3.34 ERA) was a victim of one of those collapses. The right-hander took a three-hit shutout into the ninth inning and came within two outs of his first complete game Sunday before getting pulled, and helplessly watched Boston score six runs to beat his team 6-5.
Despite going a career-high 8 1-3 innings and throwing 61 of his 91 pitches for strikes, Guthrie didn’t earn a decision in his fourth career start and third this season.
“He wanted to stay in, but that was definitely my decision. My decision,” Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. “We didn’t make a couple of plays that we should have. Game should have been over.”
Guthrie, who has never faced Washington (15-27), began the season in the bullpen before getting promoted to fill in for the injured Jaret Wright. That bullpen finally overcame its recent struggles on Friday, though, protecting Steve Trachsel’s lead as the Orioles (19-23) beat the Nationals 5-4.
Chris Ray pitched the ninth inning for his ninth save in his first appearance since blowing Sunday’s chance against the Red Sox.
“I always want to get back out there, especially if something bad happens,” said Ray, whose team improved to 74-102 all-time in interleague play. “I want to get back out there as soon as I can and get back out on the mound and have success.”
Brian Roberts tied a career high with four hits Friday to boost his average 16 points to .294. Kevin Millar went 2-for-4 with an RBI, and is 7-for-12 with two homers and two doubles during his career versus Mike Bacsik, who will take the mound for Washington on Saturday.
The Nationals said they plan to select Bacsik’s contract from Triple-A Columbus so he can start in place of Jason Bergmann, who went on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a swollen pitching elbow. He joins fellow starters John Patterson, Shawn Hill and Jerome Williams on the DL.
“It’s tough, but you have to deal with it,” said Nationals manager Manny Acta, whose team owns the worst record in the majors. “It gives other guys an opportunity to pitch here.”
Bacsik went 1-3 with a 4.00 ERA at Columbus, with 28 strikeouts and six walks in 36 innings. The left-hander is 5-5 with a 5.88 ERA in 22 major league games, including 15 starts.
He hasn’t made a major league appearance since 2004, when he went 1-1 with a 4.60 ERA in three starts for Texas. One of those outings was a 7-3 defeat to the Orioles, as Bacsik allowed five runs and five hits over 4 2-3 innings in his lone outing against them.