O's Skid Reaches Four As Rally Falls Short
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
BALTIMORE, Aug. 23 -- The ball traveled over the right field fence with the bases loaded in the ninth inning against perhaps the most dominating closer in baseball, who on this night was throwing unhittable breaking balls and speeding fastballs. But Miguel Tejada, who had two home runs, could not single-handedly win the game for his Baltimore Orioles, who fell, 7-6, to the Los Angeles Angels.
If the Orioles are going to have their first winning season since 1997, they will need more than just Tejada, their heartbeat, their soul, and their only standout Tuesday night.
"You never want to put it on Miggy's back," Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. "Miggy can't carry this team without somebody else's help. If he's the only guy, it's not going to happen."
It was Tejada that provided the only bit of hope on this night with his grand slam off Francisco Rodriguez.
"There aren't many guys in the league who are able to drive a ball with that much fuzz and that high out to right field," Angels Manager Mike Scioscia said. "Miguel Tejada is a special player."
It has not been a pleasant season for Orioles starting pitchers, who have been bruised, battered, booed, been inconsistent in moments and have been simply awful at other times. Orioles starters, entering Tuesday's game, ranked 23rd in the majors in ERA.
In a season full of frustrating pitching performances, Eric DuBose's effort in Baltimore's fourth consecutive defeat may have been the worst.
"It could have been worse," Perlozzo said.
The left-hander allowed eight hits in two innings, and loaded the bases in each of his two frames. DuBose's pitching line -- three runs, eight hits -- might have been worse had it not been for designated hitter Garret Anderson, playing for the first time in eight games because of a bad back and knee. He ended the first inning by hitting into a double play with the bases loaded, then grounded out to first base with the bases loaded to end the second inning.
DuBose was not allowed to come out for the third inning. He had been given the starting assignment because of his stellar performance against the Oakland Athletics last Wednesday. In that game DuBose did not allow a run in six innings and had a no-hitter for 4 2/3 innings. DuBose was never that impressive against Los Angeles.
Seven of the first eight Angels reached base, six of them on hits and one on a walk. Perlozzo said DuBose immediately shelved his looping breaking ball, which had served him so well against Oakland.
"I only threw one all night," DuBose said. "I never got into a rhythm where I could use my offspeed pitch."
The Los Angeles offense had so dominated early -- they scored two more runs against reliever John Maine in the third inning -- that Orlando Cabrera had three hits by the third inning. Cabrera had not had three hits in a game since July 31. Los Angeles had 12 hits before the end of the third inning.
The Orioles have lost their past 30 games in which they trailed by five or more runs.
The night was an utter disappointment for the Orioles. They did not do much against Angels starter Jarrod Washburn, who pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on Javy Lopez's home run in the fourth inning. Their first hit came in the second inning on a liner to left field by Sammy Sosa, who was so certain he had hit a home run that he hopped out of the batters box.
"I've never seen him intentionally do something like that," Perlozzo said. "It's not a concern that it was something detrimental to the team."
The only problem was that the ball struck the top of the wall and Sosa, who had trotted to first base, was thrown out at second base by a considerable margin by left fielder Juan Rivera.
"There's nothing to talk about," Sosa said. "I hit it pretty hard, but that's the way it is."