WASHINGTON (AP) — At age 32, Chris Jakubauskas is hardly an overnight sensation. After years in independent baseball and a scary injury last season, the right-hander hopes he’s finally found a home with the Baltimore Orioles.
Jakubauskas pitched five innings for the win and got his first two major league hits Sunday as the Orioles ended the Washington Nationals’ eight-game winning streak with a 7-4 victory.
Mark Reynolds had three hits, including a home run. J.J. Hardy also homered and Craig Tatum drove in two runs to back Jakubauskas (2-0), who allowed three runs and six hits while striking out six and walking one.
“It’s always special when you get your first anything,” Jakubauskas said. “It was special because it’s fun playing with guys who are 22, 23, and I’m 32.”
In April 2010, Jakubauskas was pitching for Pittsburgh when Lance Berkman lined a ball off his head. Jakubauskas wasn’t even on the Orioles’ spring training roster, but now he can’t stop talking about his good fortune.
“These opportunities don’t last long, so you’ve got to make (the most) of opportunities when they present themselves,” he said.
Jakubauskas singled twice, in the fifth and sixth, and was thrown out at the plate when he tried to score in the fifth. Orioles manager Buck Showalter allowed his new slugger to bat in the sixth when he had already decided not to let him pitch the bottom of the inning. Showalter is intrigued by Jakubauskas’ athleticism. On Friday night, he used him as a pinch-runner, but he really likes him as an occasional starter.
“Funny things happen when you can command a fastball, and that’s what Jak can do,” Showalter said. “When you can locate a fastball, you’ve got a chance up here.”
Jim Johnson worked two scoreless innings out of the Orioles’ bullpen. Koji Uehara pitched two innings and allowed a run.
Baltimore’s Derrek Lee had two more hits to finish 9 for 13 in the three-games series. He went 5 for 5 on Friday and had hits in his first two at-bats Saturday.
The Orioles, who had lost six of seven, scored their most runs since putting up nine on May 25.
“It was a big win for us. Now we have a chance to go to Pittsburgh and kind of turn it around. We’ve lost two series on this trip, and now if we go up there and get this series, it makes it not such a bad trip,” Lee said.
Washington’s eight-game winning streak was its longest since June 2005. The Nationals tied a season high by committing three errors.
“We know we were sloppy today and that’s the reason we lost. You don’t deserve to win games when you play like that,” third baseman Ryan Zimmerman said.
The Orioles and Washington split six games this season.
Lee scored Baltimore’s first run in the second when Tatum bounced into a double play.
In the third, Hardy hit a long shot to center off Tom Gorzelanny (2-5) that landed on the grass beyond the wall. That made it 2-0.
Reynolds doubled with one out in the fourth and scored on Tatum’s single for a 3-0 lead.
The Nationals scored two runs in the fourth off Jakubauskas on back-to-back RBI doubles by Michael Morse and Danny Espinosa.
In the fifth, the Orioles scored two more off Gorzelanny on an RBI single by Adam Jones and a run-scoring double by Lee.
Gorzelanny had been on the disabled list since May 24 with an inflamed left elbow. In his first start since coming back, he allowed five runs — four earned — and 10 hits in 4 2-3 innings.
Roger Bernadina, who had three hits, homered in the fifth to cut Baltimore’s lead to 5-3.
Reynolds made it 6-3 on his 13th home run of the year off Todd Coffey leading off the sixth.
“We made errors in the first two games and they took advantage, and we took advantage today,” Reynolds said. “Anytime a team gives you extra outs, it’s tough to win. Today, we took advantage of it and we were able to score some runs.”
Tatum’s sacrifice fly in the eighth gave Baltimore a 7-3 lead.
Espinosa’s 13th home run in the ninth made it 7-4.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)