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August 19, 2014 at 2:09 am ET
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O’s Beat White Sox and Nats in the Same Day
Don't forget, fans. It's Tony LaRussa Garden Gnome Night on Aug 30.

Don’t forget, fans. It’s Tony LaRussa Garden Gnome Night on Aug 30.

The Orioles are on a roll. They walloped the White Sox only hours after their lawyers bettered the Washington Nationals’ lawyers in New York Supreme Court.

I think I know what’s wrong with the Sox, who are limping through the motions. The sign behind home plate at US Cellular Field serves as a constant reminder that Tony LaRussa bobblehead night comes at the end of the month. A stern, cartoony LaRussa stares a hitters all night, hands on hips, silently admonishing and wrecking the White Sox’s mojo.

The Nats and O’s, of course, are in a disupute over television rights. Washington’s looking to redraw a hilarious stinkbomb of a contract that allows Baltimore to pocket most of the Nats’ tv revenue. Back when the Nats were still the late, lamented Montreal Expos, “commissioner” Bud Selig agreed to a deal to relocate MTL to DC – which, for 30-odd years had been exclusive Orioles territory. That deal, essentially, meant the Orioles owned 85 percent of the Nationals’ TV rights.

In the first few years of Nats baseball, nobody cared. The had the worst viewership in baseball. Like, Houston-bad. They’d get 0.0 ratings. School board meetings on public access got higher ratings than the Nationals.

Until they got pretty good. And then people started watching. And the Lerner family, which bought the Nats from MLB, starting getting steamed about their lousy deal. Selig is trying to broker a new deal and the Orioles are having none of it.

The details are boring, but in a nutshell the courts sided with the O’s – at least temporarily – yesterday.

Then in the nightcap, the O’s presented Chris Sale with just his third loss of 2014. Chicago manager Robin Ventura looked like he might let his ace throw 300 pitches, finally removing him after three runs and 121 heaves. For the first time all year, Sale gave up two homers in one game. His ERA ballooned to 2.12.

Sale had tremendous stuff, but the patient O’s took advantage of any mistake he made. Bud Norris, meanwhile, allowed only three hits in seven innings, finally permitting two runs to score before his exit. He’s 11-7 for the year.

Though the score doesn’t tell the story, the game was closer than the court battle. The O’s clung to a 3-2 lead when Conor Gillespie yanked a Norris fastball deep to right. Nick Markakis chased it, timed it, leaped at the right field fence and snatched a homer away from Gillespie for out number three.

Moments later, Baltimore erupted for five runs to put the White Sox away.

The O’s lawyers are back in court against the Nats Thursday. The O’s themselves are off that day.

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