Orioles

Bills hit the road for 2-game West Coast swing

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Bills hit the road for 2-game West Coast swing

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) Fred Jackson is getting a little grief from his Buffalo Bills teammates after the running back's last trip to Arizona turned into a humorous misadventure.

The ribbing has left Jackson wanting another chance at driving quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick's off-road vehicle and go four-wheeling into the rocky wilderness outside of Phoenix. And this time he vows not to blow out a tire and nearly leave everyone stranded in the middle of nowhere.

``Stranded is a harsh word,'' Jackson said with a laugh Friday. He's referring to what happened during the NFL lockout last year, when Jackson and a number of Bills players spent a week at Fitzpatrick's home in Arizona holding informal workouts.

``They were making fun of me for it, and I told them (the vehicle) just couldn't handle it,'' Jackson said. ``I ran over a pretty decent-sized rock, and the rock won.''

Jackson is being reminded of his off-road exploits as Buffalo (2-2) prepares for an extended West Coast swing.

After playing San Francisco (3-1) on Sunday, the Bills will travel to Arizona, where they'll spend next week practicing for their game against the Cardinals (4-1) on Oct. 14.

This, of course, will be more of a business trip, though Jackson said his approach will be no different on the field - or off it - than last time.

``I'm not going to change the way I drive, or the way I run either,'' he said. ``Full pedal to the metal.''

Coming off an embarrassing 52-28 loss to New England, the Bills can't afford too many more blown tires entering what's become a critical portion of their schedule. Buffalo is opening a stretch in which it will play four of its next five on the road.

``It's going to define what we want to do this season, we know that,'' Jackson said. ``To get to where we want to be, we have to be able to go on the road and win games, and win games against opponents like this.''

Coach Chan Gailey made the decision to have the team stay out west rather than travel home between games. By eliminating a pair of cross-country flights, Gailey believes his players will be more rested and better accustomed to the time change.

The Bills will spend next week staying at Phoenix resort, and practicing at Arizona State University.

``I think it's going to be kind of like a training camp atmosphere where it's just us,'' linebacker Bryan Scott said. ``There'll be no distractions. It's just us. It's a business trip.''

That doesn't mean there won't be opportunities for players to have fun and opportunities to bond.

Fitzpatrick has already been pegged to serve as a quasi-tour guide, and is also preparing to host a number of players at his home for a barbecue.

Fitzpatrick is looking forward to the week away as an opportunity for the players to gel.

``I think we've got great chemistry in this locker room, and that's how you pull through in adverse times,'' he said. ``And that's how you pull through and are able to overcome a lot of the negative things that are going on around you.''

The Bills could certainly use a boost after an inconsistent start to the season.

And Fitzpatrick can't help but be reminded of the adversity he and his teammates faced last year after Jackson blew the tire to one of the two off-road vehicles they were driving.

Fitzpatrick came to the rescue, by gently driving the vehicle down a hill and some two miles on the flat tire to where the players had parked.

``Yeah, I saved Fred's butt,'' Fitzpatrick said, with a smile.

Jackson wouldn't mind another shot.

``I'm up for another drive if Fitz will let me get behind the wheel,'' said Jackson, who's still waiting for a reply. ``He said he needed a couple of days to think about it.''

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NOTES: OG Chad Rinehart was held out of practice Friday for precautionary reasons a day after hurting his calf. Gailey said Rinehart - who is filling in for injured starter Kraig Urbik (ankle) - should be ready to play Sunday. ... S Jairus Byrd (hip) continued to practice and should play despite being listed as questionable. ... The Bills haven't played consecutive games on the west coast since 1965, when they played at Oakland and San Diego.

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We can’t stop staring at these Bowie Baysox commemorative moon landing jerseys

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Twitter/@BowieBaysox

We can’t stop staring at these Bowie Baysox commemorative moon landing jerseys

One of the coolest things about Minor League Baseball is the creativity that comes with it.

The stadiums. The ice cream deals. The interesting mascots. And most importantly, the uniforms.

The Bowie Baysox, the Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, released special uniforms they will be wearing on Saturday for the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing.

And, oh wow, are they something. Take a look.

On the front of the uniform, you can see the image of where lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin planted the American flag on the lunar surface of the moon. On the back, a satellite view of the moon is pictured, with the player's number on top of it. Both the number and the cursive "Baysox" on the front are filled in with the American flag.

If you're looking for some to do on Saturday, go support the Baysox and their Moon Landing uniforms. If only there was a jersey giveaway.

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Bullpen struggles plague Nationals in loss to Orioles

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Bullpen struggles plague Nationals in loss to Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Juan Soto sat on the ground against the left-field wall, his head in his hands in the bottom of the eighth. Washington's outfielder had just reached for a long shot from Baltimore's Trey Mancini, but the ball was just out of Soto's reach and Mancini notched his 19th homer of the year, a two-run knock that gave the Orioles a 6-2 lead. 

Soto's body language symbolized more than just his frustration from the one play. By the end of the game -- the start of which was delayed 92 minutes after an onslaught of rain made Camden Yards look like a blizzard had blown into town -- the Orioles outscored the Nationals 9-2, almost the opposite of Washington's 8-1 win Tuesday.

Both teams were sluggish out of the box; a one-run ball game until the seventh, when Baltimore tore the game wide open. Washington put across its two sole runs in the third and fifth, both RBIs from Adam Eaton (he knocked in Soto on a sacrifice fly on the third, and Trea Turner on a double in the fifth). 

The Orioles briefly tied the game in the fourth, but it wasn't until the seventh when Baltimore broke down Washington's bullpen and put up two consecutive multi-run innings. 

Though Washington starter Erick Fedde, who was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg earlier Wednesday, put in six solid innings on the mound and only allowed on run on five hits in his 66 pitches, the Nationals' bullpen struggled to thwart the Orioles' comeback seventh and eighth innings.   

Since the outing was Fedde's first since he was recalled, Washington manager Davey Martinez didn't want to stretch him since he'd had two weeks off. 

"He got us through the sixth inning," Martinez said. "We had [Wander Suero] ready to go, but [Fedde] did well."

Suero, Tony Sipp and Javy Guerra combined for the seventh inning, contributing an out apiece. Suero got off to a rough start, however, and the first two batters he faced reached base. In his outing he gave up three earned runs on three hits and one walk.

After the game Suero explained that he received some bad personal news prior to the game, so he wasn't necessarily in the right mindset.

Sipp faced only two batters before he was done on the mound (he walked one and gave up a sacrifice fly to Rio Ruiz). So, when Guerra entered with two outs and two runners on, the Nationals were in desperate need of that elusive third out. 

Guerra induced a groundout to end the seventh, but couldn't carry that momentum into the eighth. To start the penultimate inning, Guerra gave up that two-run shot to left field that left Soto with his head hanging between his knees. 

Washington stuck with Guerra after those two runs crossed the plate, but as the right-hander struggled to record even one out, Martinez made the call and brought in Matt Grace to complete the inning. Three more runs crossed in the half, putting Baltimore ahead 9-2.

Now, the Nationals head to Atlanta to face the NL East-leading Braves for a four-game set. Washington is 6 1/2 games back of Atlanta, though the Nationals are the top wild-card standings in the National League.

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