Phillies 7, Orioles 6
The Baltimore Orioles on Saturday night asked a rookie pitcher to go deeper in a game than he had ever gone before. They asked reserve players to man positions they had not played in months. They asked their collection of bone-weary relievers to find the strength to go out there one more time. All because of a marathon win the night before that was almost as costly as it was uplifting.
In the end, it was too much to ask. A two-run lead evaporated in the hands of the bullpen in the eighth inning, sending the Orioles to a 7-6 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies in front of 44,163 at homer-happy Citizens Bank Park.
The Orioles were five outs away from their fourth straight victory when Phillies third baseman David Bell crushed a towering two-run homer off right-hander Jason Grimsley with one out in the eighth to tie the game. It scored Jim Thome, who had reached on a bad-hop single past third baseman Luis Lopez one batter before.
Once two more batters reached against Grimsley, Manager Lee Mazzilli replaced him with lefty B.J. Ryan, who was greeted by pinch hitter Tomas Perez's single off Lopez's glove into left field, bringing in the go-ahead run.
"We got beat with a bad hop," Mazzilli said. "That's it. That's all I saw. . . . It hit something. Bad hop. Boom."
Grimsley and Ryan were both pitching for the third night in a row, and they had combined to throw 60 pitches in the Orioles' 16-inning victory Friday night, which took 6 hours 15 minutes.
"That was my best," Mazzilli said. "I asked those guys what they had, and they said they had it. And you go with them. They want the ball, and they got it."
The bullpen's lapse cost lefty Erik Bedard a well-deserved win. With the Orioles in desperate need of a strong effort from their starter, Bedard gave them seven solid innings, striking out 10 -- the most by an Oriole this season and the most by an Orioles rookie in almost eight years -- and leaving with a 5-4 lead.
The lead became 6-4 when Lopez, starting at third for only the second time this season, homered to left off lefty Rheal Cormier (4-3), Lopez's first hit in his last 18 at-bats and his first homer in the majors in nearly two years.
Grimsley (3-5) took over for Bedard in the eighth with a two-run lead and quickly got the first out. Thome's grounder at Lopez -- who had shifted over toward shortstop against the pull-hitting Thome -- appeared to be the second out, but the ball took a wicked hop in front of Lopez and skipped into left field for a hit.
Two pitches later the game was tied, after Grimsley served up Bell's homer. Although the ball appeared to land a good many rows deep, Grimsley questioned its authenticity.
"In 29 other ballparks," Grimsley said, referring to the home run tendencies of the Phillies' new stadium, "that's an out."
Three batters later, Ryan, who is holding opposing hitters to a .184 average this season, found himself facing Perez with two on and two out in a tie game. On a 2-2 pitch, Perez smashed a grounder that glanced off Lopez's glove and into left field, bringing in the winning run.
"I have to make that play," Lopez said. "If I make that play we'd be celebrating now."
Orioles Note: The team will promote 27-year-old right-hander Dave Borkowski from Class AAA Ottawa to start Game 2 of a day-night doubleheader Monday in Baltimore against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Borkowski spent parts of the 1999, 2000 and 2001 seasons in the majors with Detroit, but has not appeared in the majors since. He is 6-9 with a 4.85 ERA at Ottawa.