CLEVELAND — The final three outs Sunday at Progressive Field provided a fitting conclusion to a demoralizing series and an awful road trip, one in which the Baltimore Orioles were exposed in every possible way.
Trailing the Cleveland Indians by two runs in the ninth inning, Derrek Lee flied out on closer Chris Perez’s first pitch. Vladimir Guerrero popped out on Perez’s second pitch and then Luke Scott worked a seven-pitch at-bat before he struck out looking on a ball that appeared out of the strike zone.
The Orioles went down meekly and quietly to the surging Indians in a 4-2 loss before an announced 13,017, and return home for a long homestand with a seven-game losing streak, concerns about their starting pitching and plenty of questions about what happened to their offense, which has scored just 17 runs during the skid.
“We wouldn’t have thought scoring runs was going to be the issue,” said Lee, who went 0 for 3 and is hitting just .212 with one homer and two RBI.
Baltimore (6-8) was outscored by the first-place Indians, 20-7, in the humbling three-game sweep, and never led in any of the games. In the 0-5 road trip that included two losses to the New York Yankees in a rain-abbreviated series, the Orioles were outscored, 33-16.
“They all are [tough], but we’re not going to sit around and wallow in our self pity,” Manager Buck Showalter said. “Let’s move on.
“You put it behind you, learn from it and you don’t let it happen again.”
Held by Fausto Carmona and two relievers to just six hits, Baltimore was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. The Orioles scored their first run in the fourth inning on Lee’s rally-killing double play grounder after the visitors had first and third and nobody out in the inning. They scored their other run in the seventh on Scott’s sacrifice fly.
In his second start of the season, Brad Bergesen allowed three runs (two earned) over five innings. Baltimore starters have an 8.45 ERA during the losing streak, logging just 33 innings during the slide.
Bergesen paid for leaving a couple of pitches up in the strike zone. Carlos Santana drove a 3-2 pitch in the second inning over the wall in right. Playing his first game since May 16 of last year after a long recovery from left knee surgery, Grady Sizemore homered to right in the third inning.
For Sizemore, who also doubled, it was his first homer since Aug. 27, 2009, also against the Orioles. Travis Hafner then hit the Indians’ third homer, a solo shot in the sixth off of Jeremy Accardo to give Cleveland a 4-1 lead.
The 51 runs the Orioles have scored are the second fewest in the American League.
— Baltimore Sun