Orioles Are Doubled-Up by Rays

By Marc Carig
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 23, 2008

BALTIMORE, Sept. 22 -- Little more than seven months ago, the Baltimore Orioles gathered in Fort Lauderdale for spring training, where they repeated drills to ensure that fundamental mistakes would not be their downfall. But on Monday, the Orioles provided a reminder of how long it's been since those sunny spring afternoons in Florida.

The Orioles fell to the playoff-bound Tampa Bay Rays, 4-2, before 12,489 at Camden Yards.

They didn't drop their sixth consecutive game, however, because of Tampa Bay phenom David Price, who enjoyed a solid big league debut as a starter. Instead, it was a base running blunder that Orioles Manager Dave Trembley called "embarrassing," and a fielding error that led to the go-ahead run.

"The games that you should win we should win," Trembley said. "I don't care what time of the year it is, I don't care what game it is. If you have an opportunity to win the game, do the right things to win it."

After the loss, Trembley fumed mostly over a base running miscue in the sixth that led to an inning-ending double play. With one out and the score tied at 2, Oscar Salazar was on first and Aubrey Huff on second for the Orioles. Ramón Hernández lifted a sinking liner to center field on a 3-2 pitch as both runners took off immediately.

But Rays center fielder B.J. Upton caught the ball and easily doubled-up Huff at second, thus killing the potential rally.

"It's three balls and two strikes and you're running and it's a fly ball," Trembley said. "Don't you stop? It's not kamikaze baseball. You don't just run till you're out. To me that's a total mental breakdown."

Huff took a different view of the play.

"Can't do nothing about that," Huff said. "That's not a base running mistake. I mean we're on the move on the pitch, he catches it in shallow center, a soft line drive. If Oscar's not out, I'm out. Ain't no way I could have gotten back on second base."

Tampa Bay took the lead for good in the seventh inning after Brian Roberts bobbled Gabe Gross's routine grounder to second base. Gross later scored the winning run.

The miscues changed the complexion of what had been an unexpected pitching duel between the much-celebrated Price and Orioles starter Brian Bass.

Their pedigrees couldn't have been more disparate. Price, the top overall pick in the 2007 draft, was making his first major league start after a season in the minor leagues and a pair of relief appearance. Bass was making just his third big league start after seven seasons of toiling in the minors.

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