Bats Awaken In 11-5 Win

W – Kevin Millwood (2-8)     L – Nate Robertson (5-6)

Kevin Millwood wouldn’t have lost his first eight decisions if he was getting run support like this.. In his last two starts he hasn’t pitched that well but still came away with the victory, especially last night. Its like the opposite of the first two months. Millwood was barely able to make it out of the 5th inning last night, throwing 116 pitches in the process. The first inning continues to be a problem for the big right hander and he gave up two runs in the initial frame last night. Altogether he allowed 4 runs on 8 hits and 2 walks over 5 innings with 3 strikeouts. Its been a while since hes pitched good, you’d have to think the losing is getting to him. Jason Berken was on his game, throwing two scoreless innings and striking out three batters. His slider was particularly effective, striking out all-star Hanley Ramirez on three straight in one instance. David Hernandez tossed a perfect 8th striking out two batters. With Berken and Hernandez it looks like we have a nice building block for the bullpen. If we can get Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson, and Mike Gonzalez healthy and pitching well we’d be in business. Someone that isn’t pitching well, Matt Albers, gave up a run in the 9th on a pair of hits. Koji is expected to be back tomorrow and I’m hoping Albers gets the axe.

The 3rd inning is when the offense started their onslaught and would you believe Craig Tatum got it started? Well he did with a lead off double. Cesar Izturis reached on a bunt hit and Julio Lugo singled to score Tatum. Miguel Tejada singled to score Izturis, Nick Markakis singled to load the bases, and Ty Wiggington singled to score Lugo. Luke Scott lifted a sacrifice fly to take a 4-3 lead and Adam Jones ripped an RBI double to add another. It was Jones again in the 5th when he belted his second homerun in as many games and his fourth in his last eight games. Hes starting to put it together and resemble to guy we saw for the first two months of 2009. In the 6th Scott hit his 14th double of the season to score Tejada, who had singled. It was Tejada’s best game of the season. He finally hit his 5th homerun in the 7th, a three run shot, after Tatum singled and Lugo was hit by a pitch. The guy that started it all also put the final run on the board when Tatum hit his second double of the game to score Jones who had singled. Where has this been all year? I’m sure its just an anomaly but maybe the light finally came on. There were signs of it Wednesday night until Juan Samuel took the game out of our hands. Maybe its a coincidence that it coincides with Markakis stepping up as a leader, making strong comments in the paper and meeting with owner Peter Angelos to talk about the future of the club, or maybe it made a difference. All I know is it was a rare fun game to watch in this dreadful season and I’d love to say that more often as we reach the second half and beyond.

Player of the game: Miguel Tejada – 4-5, 3 R, 4 RBI, HR (5) (.282 AVG)

The Nationals come into town for a weekend series starting tonight. We miss Stephen Strasburg, which I’m sure our hitters are thankful for, but we don’t miss JD Martin (0-3, 3.55) because he pitches tonight against our own Jake Arrieta (2-1, 5.06).

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