Baltimore Orioles' Offense Proves Lifeless Against Florida Marlins

By Jeff Zrebiec
Baltimore Sun
Friday, June 26, 2009

MIAMI, June 25 -- A road trip that started with so much promise ended Thursday night with another lifeless display by the Baltimore Orioles, who looked as if they couldn't get out of Land Shark Stadium soon enough.

The Florida Marlins' 11-3 victory in front of an announced 12,822 secured a dominating series sweep and completely eradicated any lingering momentum that the Orioles had built in their run over the Philadelphia Phillies to start the trip.

The Orioles (32-40) are 5-16 against the Marlins and 1-11 at what was formerly know as Dolphin Stadium.

Against the Phillies last weekend, the Orioles got quality starting pitching, key hits and solid defense. None of those were consistently present here as the Orioles looked like a completely different team.

The three Marlins starters in the series -- Andrew Miller, Ricky Nolasco and Sean West, who pitched Thursday -- allowed just one earned run (three runs total) and 12 hits in 20 innings.

West pitched six shutout innings in the series finale, allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out two. He also was given plenty of margin of error as the Marlins teed off on mistake-prone Orioles left-hander Rich Hill.

In the second, Hill left an 0-2 pitch up to Marlins center fielder Cody Ross, who pounded it deep into the unoccupied left field seats for the two-run homer.

In the third inning, Hill got ahead of leadoff man Chris Coghlan before allowing a double. Hanley Ramírez drove him home to make the score 3-0 and then two batters later, Dan Uggla smacked Hill's pitch deep into the left-field seats.

That gave the Marlins a 5-0 lead and they would tack on one more run against Hill in the fifth on Jorge Cantú's double. That ended Hill's evening as Orioles Manager Dave Trembley patted him on the back and handed the ball to long reliever Mark Hendrickson.

Hill (3-2) allowed six earned runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out six, his ERA settling at 6.13.

The Orioles had chances to get back in the game, putting base runners on in each of the first seven innings. But they again couldn't get a clutch hit.

Nick Markakis, who had three hits, was stranded after a first-inning, one-out double. Ty Wigginton never left first base after his leadoff single in the fourth.

Ramírez hit a grand slam in the eighth inning off Chris Ray to put the game away.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company