In Loss, Orioles Find Team Worth Emulating

By Zach Berman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 20, 2008

BALTIMORE, Aug. 20 -- Before Tuesday's game, the 50 millionth fan in the history of Oriole Park at Camden Yards walked through the gates. As has happened more times than not in front of the other 49,999,999 fans in the 17 seasons of the pristine ballpark, the Baltimore Orioles lost.

The Orioles fell to the Red Sox, 7-2, for their second straight loss to Boston. The Red Sox provided precisely the type of baseball that Manager Dave Trembley hopes the Orioles will play.

"They got the three things we're always talking about we need in order to win," Trembley said. "They got pitching, defense and timely hitting."

The lack of pitching and timely hitting could be identified as the main reasons the Orioles lost.

Baltimore's best opportunity came in the fourth inning, when a scoring surge was within its grasp. After a leadoff groundout by Jay Payton, Juan Castro singled to center field and Brian Roberts singled to left field. Castro advanced from first to third. Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka walked Nick Markakis, loading the bases for the Orioles with one out and the heart of the order due up.

To the plate walked Melvin Mora, arguably the hottest hitter in baseball. Since the all-star break, Mora is leading the major leagues with a .422 average. He also has 12 doubles, 9 home runs and 43 RBI.

The situation continued to be more appealing when Mora took three balls to begin the at-bat. Excitement brimmed through the ballpark -- this is the type of at-bat 50 million Orioles fans would clamor to see.

The anticipation was unanswered. Mora struck out.

As a consolation prize, the Orioles sent to the plate clean-up hitter Aubrey Huff. Perhaps the Orioles' best hitter, Huff hurt the Red Sox on Monday with a home run, double and three RBI.

Like Mora, Huff did not come through. He hit a weak popup to the third base side. Once the ball went up, Huff flicked his bat beside him in disappointment. He knew the Orioles couldn't let an opportunity like the one they were presented with in the fourth inning pass them by.

"We had the right guys up there and it didn't happen," Trembley said. "But with the way we've been getting production out of everyone in our lineup, you can't fault the effort and you just have to say, 'Hey, things didn't fall in our favor tonight.' "

The pitching was the other problem for the Orioles.

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