First, they lost Glenn Davis to the disabled list. Then, they lost to the Milwaukee Brewers for only the third time in their past 10 meetings at Memorial Stadium.
It was not a good day for the Baltimore Orioles.
In a game in which the Brewers cashed in their chances more often, the Orioles fell for the sixth time in the past eight starts, 5-4, last night.
Despite two home runs by Mike Devereaux and another solid relief effort by Mike Flanagan, who escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth without allowing a run, the Orioles couldn't overcome Milwaukee's execution of the basics.
Sacrifice bunts and a sacrifice fly played a role in three of the first four Milwaukee runs. Orioles relievers Paul Kilgus and Mark Williamson couldn't stem the tide in the middle innings.
Bill Spiers drove in the go-ahead run against Kilgus in the seventh after a successful sacrifice, pinning another hard-luck loss on Jose Mesa.
"The bullpen didn't get the job done," said manager Frank Robinson. "Mesa struggled with his breaking ball, didn't get many over. But he had a good fastball and didn't pitch badly.
"I'm not frustrated. We're not hitting very well. You can't force people to hit with men on base. We'll have to ride it out."
Consecutive singles by Robin Yount, Franklin Stubbs (an infield hit) and Dante Bichette supplied an insurance run before Flanagan arrived to rescue Williamson.
The Orioles wasted a big opportunity in the bottom of the eighth after Dwight Evans led off with a single and Leo Gomez walked.
Chuck Crim relieved and got Randy Milligan on a weak pop-up after Milligan twice failed to sacrifice.
Then, left-hander Mark Lee replaced Crim with Sam Horn announced as a pinch hitter. Robinson replaced Horn with Tim Hulett, who struck out on a 3-2 pitch that replays seemed to show was outside.
The runners were moving on the play, and Evans was an easy second out at third on a double play.
"I had the runners moving, but it didn't work out," said Robinson. "You open some holes, try to stay out of the double play. But you hope if the pitch is a ball, your hitter takes it."
Baltimore had men in scoring position in four consecutive innings -- fifth through eighth -- and produced only one run.
Devereaux homered with two out in the ninth off former American Legion teammate Lee to account for the final run. Edwin Nunez relieved to strike out pinch hitter Chris Hoiles to end the game.
Devereaux had led off the bottom of the first with a line drive into the left-field stands, after Evans closed the top of the inning with a strike to the plate to get Paul Molitor for a double play after Yount flied to medium-deep right.
"Dewey [Evans] pumped everybody with with that throw," said Devereaux. "Then we got the one in a hurry. But things turned around."
After the Orioles scored again in the second on Bill Ripken's single, they appeared in good shape behind Mesa, whose two previous losses were by 1-0 to the Texas Rangers' Nolan Ryan and 2-0 to the Chicago White Sox's Greg Hibbard.
But Milwaukee pecked away, executed sacrifices well and withstood Devereaux's first two-homer game.
The second shot barely cleared the center-field fence, and it appeared Yount caught the ball at first.
"I knew the wind was blowing that way and that if it got up into the wind, it would go. I actually thought he had it at first," said Devereaux.
"It's too bad it wasn't enough. He [Mesa] has pitched well all year, and we can't come up with the wins for him."
Greg Vaughn homered for the Brewers in the fifth, his fourth homer in seven at-bats and the first allowed by Mesa since Aug. 28. That spanned 63 innings.
In Vaughn's past five games, all six of his hits have been for extra bases, and he has 10 RBI.
+ Brewers-Orioles scoring
Orioles first: Devereaux homered to left. Orsulak grounded out to second. C.Ripken grounded out to third. Evans walked. Gomez grounded out to second. Orioles 1, Brewers 0.
Orioles second: Milligan singled to left. Worthington grounded out to catcher, Milligan to second. Melvin grounded out to second, Milligan to third. B.Ripken singled to left, Milligan scored. Devereaux grounded out to shortstop. Orioles 2, Brewers 0.
Brewers fourth: Gantner grounded out to second. Sheffield walked. Yount doubled to right, Sheffield to third. Stubbs hit TC sacrifice fly to center, Sheffield scored. Bichette grounded out to third. Orioles 2, Brewers 1.
Brewers fifth: Vaughn homered to left. Surhoff singled to left. Spiers sacrificed to pitcher, Surhoff to second. Molitor singled to right, Surhoff scored. Gantner flied out to left. Sheffield flied out to left. Brewers 3, Orioles 2.
Orioles sixth: Evans flied out to right. Gomez doubled to left. Holmes relieved Brown. Milligan struck out. Worthington singled to center, Gomez scored. Melvin flied out to center. Brewers 3, Orioles 3.