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Hey Orioles! Have We Got a Reliever for You!

Rare is the out-of-town scoreboard update that doesn't involve ATL or PHI (or, because we are the way we are, NYY) that gets our collective attention, but geez, nobody at Shea or anywhere had ever seen anything like what TEX was doing to BAL.

“Wow. The Rangers are winning 14 to 3.”

“Now it's 16 to 3. Birds must have gotten Mussina back.”

“Ohmigod, it's 20 to 3. Baltimore has to be using a position player to pitch.”

“21-3! Maybe the Orioles want to rethink that extension they gave Trembley.”

“Look! It's 24 to 3! That's the Cowboys and the Dolphins in Super Bowl VI.”

“26-3! Texas must have gone for the two-point conversion.”

“27-3! I think the record's 29.”

“They did it! 30 runs! And they have to play another game!”

Yes they did. The Texas Rangers scored 30 runs — 30 unanswered runs — against the Baltimore Orioles in the first half of a twinight doubleheader at Camden Yards. They broke the modern record for most runs scored by one team in one game, which was indeed 29, first accomplished by the 1950 Red Sox and later equaled by the 1955 White Sox; the last major league baseball (yes, baseball) team to score more was called, quite fittingly, the Colts, though they scored their 36 some 79 years before Peyton Manning was born, when the rules said pitchers had to take a swig of hard cider after every strike. The O's, up 3-0 after three, used only pitchers to pitch, killjoys that they obviously are. Somebody on the Rangers actually notched a save for continuing to breathe during the seventh, eighth and ninth innings while his teammates tacked on 16 insurance runs.

Again, your final from Camden Yards in the first game of a doubleheader, the Texas Rangers 30, the Baltimore Orioles 3 [1].

Makes Padres 7, Mets 5 look practically inoffensive.

Or was that Jake Peavy's doing?

I have to admit that except for fits and spurts, it was far more interesting for me and my online-turned-actual buddy Ben, enjoying our first mezzanine rendezvous, to imagine what Texas was doing to Baltimore than it was to watch with full attention the Mets flail helplessly at the starting pitcher for the National League All-Star team. Jake Peavy was the Jarrod Saltalamacchia of throwing Wednesday night, striking out eleven in six innings, including setting down Carlos Delgado fifteen separate times with runners on base.

OK, math's off there, but that's what it looked like when we deigned to pay attention, so effective was Peavy and so deep was our conversation about the Rangers, the Orioles and everything except what we paid to see (funny how that goes). Peavy had no-hit stuff, thus the no-hitter he carried into the fifth. He walked five, but as long as he didn't walk them consecutively, he was in reasonable shape. It was only by the royal graces of his highness Count Pitch that Peavy came out after six innings.

Before we could derive the benefit of going Jakeless, we would be pretty much screwed. Butterfingers all around betrayed Brian Lawrence through five, yet the heat 'n' serve bat of Carlos Beltran and the record-shattering wheels of Jose Reyes (serenaded for his 67th steal of the year while Beltran prepared to drive him home…clearly a moment too sublime for a game so crappy) kept Peavy just honest enough to make it close, 4-2 heading to the sixth. Lawrence was removed for Guillermo Mota, which seemed like not such a bad thing when he mowed down the Padres in uncharacteristic order. After Peavy retired Alou, Milledge and DiFelice with no fuss in the bottom of the sixth (which is exactly what he did in the bottom of the second and the bottom of the fourth) and departed — one hundred pitches being one hundred pitches — we had almost escaped with our competitiveness in tact.

Then Mota came out to pitch the seventh.

Jason calls Guillermo Mota the master run-allower for a reason. Mota finds a way to eventually turn zeroes into heartbreak. You don't think he can do it, but that's because you're not the master run-allower. He is. One perfect inning blemishing his line? C'mon skip. Leave me in there. I know I can create trouble for us. It was a tough task. In spite of himself, Mota started the seventh by inducing a flyout from Geoff Blum and striking out Milton Bradley. Guillermo Mota had a streak on the line. Four straight outings with at least one run…usually more…always earned…allowed.

Yes, he is a master of the genre.

With the Rangers by now doing nothing more to distract us than having their hitting shoes refitted for the nightcap (which they cruelly won 9-7), we were forced to take a good look at Guillermo Mota.

Adrian Gonzalez singled off Guillermo Mota.

Mike Cameron drew a walk from Guillermo Mota.

Adrian Gonzalez and Mike Cameron advanced on a wild pitch from Guillermo Mota.

Sensing a trend here?

The master at work, continued:

Khalil Greene singles to left off…Guillermo Mota! Two Padres score on runs allowed by…Guillermo Mota!

Khalil Greene steals second off…Guillermo Mota!

Kevin Kouzmanoff doubles off…Guillermo Mota! One more Padre, thus, scores on a third run allowed by…Guillermo Mota!

The master's craftsmanship was impeccable.

The Padres led 7-2. Sure, the Mets cut it to 7-5 on a spry ninth-inning rally, aided by the Padres' defensive indifference and a couple of legit base hits, including one from Mr. Metlin [2] Jeff Conine. Sure, the potential tying run technically came to bat, but since the technical potential tying run was wearing a uniform that said DELGADO, the potential was technically limited. Trevor Hoffman tried to blow it the way Trevor Hoffman has been known to blow it [3] between recording oodles of saves, but he's no Guillermo Mota. Hoffman's just a dilettante run-allower.

Ben had lots of penetrating questions for me as the night progressed, though it was his last one that was the best one. Does a loss like this [4] feel worse because it went from being hopeless to close to undeniably certain at the end or does the sudden surge of hope make it somehow more tolerable? I demurred on answering as we exited Shea, a loss being a loss, but I'm now willing to commit that it is better to sniff the possibility of a second consecutive comeback [5] and be foiled than to go gently onto that good 7 Express.

A loss was still a loss, you betcha, but for a moment there it felt like it wouldn't be. You were struck out eleven times in six innings by one of the best pitchers in the circuit and you faced the most statistically successful closer in the history of baseball and you still had a Delgado's chance in hell to win. Not a horrible coda to an otherwise tepid eight innings.

Some other reasons the Mets had a way better night than the Orioles:

• ATL lost.

• PHI lost.

• Mota, one would like to believe, exposed his lack of guts and unnatural enhancement so that maybe, just maybe, somebody will stop using him in official ballgames. Call this a first-and-a-half guess because I was formulating the guess between the strikeout of Bradley and the single by Gonzalez, but couldn't have Willie just removed him and his sorry ass with two out in the seventh for no reason other than the certainty that he was going to cease recording outs any second now? Shoot, Schoeneweis is finally getting out lefties and one happened to be up next. Anybody's who's witnessed Mota's masterful run-allowing of late knows asking Guillermo to put up two straight scoreless innings is like asking Britney Spears to remember to put on two separate undergarments two days in a row. I mean what are the odds it will actually happen?

• Beltran recovered nicely from his called strike three in the third to drive home Jose and David in the fifth and David (on base five times without really trying) again in the ninth. Three RBI Wednesday on top of five Tuesday on top of four Sunday. Twelve ribbies in three games: purely backwash on the Rangers, but most valuable play from anyone else.

• Reyes, it should not be glossed over, is the Mets' all-time single-season stolen base champ, having swiped three with relative ease. The crowd's jolly sing-song reaction, prompted by no more than scoreboard confirmation that No. 67 had been achieved — most of us knew it already — was a little slice of Amazin' heaven. For all the “Jose!”s he's received, I can't think of any that have risen up organically for something as deceptively simple as a steal of third. Here's to 68 and beyond. (And here's to you, Roger Cedeño [6]…66 bags wasn't so bad either.)

• Ben, who spotted the Orwellian deletion of Rick Down's incidental image from the “Sweet Caroline” video about three seconds after Down was dismissed from the premises, astutely observed the kid who is awarded the video game on DiamondVision is no longer handed a box with Derek Jeter's picture on the cover. We think Albert Pujols is the new prize, which is a little nauseating, but in this case, a little is better than a lot.

• Did I mention we didn't give up 30 runs? Then again, we only left Mota in for two innings. Maybe the Rangers will take him on their barnstorming tour this offseason — you know, give the folks away from the big cities who haven't had the privilege a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see real, live big league mashers tee off against recently released big league pitchers.

One can only hope.