May 22, 2011, 10:49 PM EDT
Associated Press photo
Jim Riggleman argues with plate umpire Todd Tichenor in the top of the first.
BALTIMORE — Jordan Zimmermann was cruising, baffling the Orioles with an assortment of fastballs, curveballs and sliders and showing no signs of letting up when he took the mound for the bottom of the seventh Sunday at Camden Yards.
So why did there still seem to be a sense of impending doom for the Nationals? Sure, they led 1-0 behind Zimmermann’s brilliance. But after squandering so many opportunities to add to that lead earlier, it would only take one mistake by the right-hander to swing this game in the opposite direction.
That one mistake, alas, came in the bottom of the seventh. And it came to perhaps the Orioles’ most-feared hitter: Vladimir Guerrero, who dropped Zimmermann’s 0-2 curveball into the left-field bleachers and sent the Nationals to a tough-to-swallow, 2-1 loss in the finale of this weekend’s interleague series.
A game that saw manager Jim Riggleman get ejected only two pitches into the top of the first ultimately was decided by the Nationals’ continued inability to convert with men on base and on Guerrero’s 441st career homer.
That home run came on a breaking ball at the knees, a pitch that would normally be acceptable. Against Guerrero, one of the greatest bad-ball hitters in history, it was the equivalent of a hanging beach
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