Home, sour home.
The Baltimore Orioles, injected with fresh hope on their road trip last week, returned to Memorial Stadium, their house of despair, last night.
And despite a gritty comeback from a 5-0 deficit, the final result was familiar, the 32nd loss in 48 games here, this one, 6-5, to the Milwaukee Brewers.
A ninth-inning single by Darryl Hamilton and Robin Yount's run-scoring double to the alley in right-center off Mark Williamson finally settled a marathon of pitching changes and wasted offensive opportunities.
Hamilton was running on the play, and Yount said normally he doesn't swing at the ball in that situation. "But the pitch was a fastball right down the middle and I couldn't let it go," he said.
It was the ninth loss in the past 12 home games for the Orioles, who have 32 left at Memorial Stadium.
Manager John Oates had no fresh insights about the Orioles' troubles in their lame-duck park.
"I can't see anything new," said Oates. "I wish I had something startling to say, but basically we've seen the same thing all year. I wish I had an explanation."
The Orioles repeatedly threatened in the late innings, leaving the bases loaded without scoring in the seventh, but couldn't catch Milwaukee until the eighth.
A double by pinch hitter Joe Orsulak started the inning and Chris Hoiles singled to right, but coach Cal Ripken wisely held Orsulak at third with none out.
Juan Bell followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 5. Mike Devereaux reached on a fielder's choice when Willie Randolph dropped a flip at second base on a potential double-play ball, the second such error for Randolph.
But Doug Henry worked out of the jam by getting Brady Anderson on a pop-up and Cal Ripken on a bouncer.
Edwin Nunez, the 10th pitcher of the night, closed out the victory for the Brewers, who had lost 10 of their previous 13 games and have the second-worst road record (19-31) in the league. Milwaukee is striving to stay ahead of the sixth-place Orioles in this series and jumped to a 5-0 lead against Roy Smith and rookie Stacy Jones -- in only his second major-league game.
Smith was quickly lifted after surrendering one run and loading the bases in the second inning. "He was just pitching behind a whole lot," Oates said. "He's not a guy who can do that. It makes it very tough for him."
Jones relieved to yield a looping, two-run single to Hamilton, who has a 10-game hitting streak, then allowed two more runs in the third on Franklin Stubbs' homer and a run-scoring double by Dale Sveum.
And the Orioles were facing Don August, who never has lost to them and was 3-0 with an 0.89 ERA at Memorial Stadium entering the game.
But they punished August through the middle innings, beginning with a two-run double by Hoiles that woke up the team.
"We were really flat until then," said Oates. "Then, boom, we come to life, just like a light switch. It was enough to fight to get even but not enough to get over the hump."
Two of the lighter hitters, Brady Anderson and Bell, played big roles with a home run and triple, respectively, shaving the Brewers' lead to 5-4.
"We hadn't seen him [Bell] turn on the ball. It's the first time we've seen that," said Hamilton. "He swung the bat well. My eyes almost fell out of my head on that one."
Bell's fly ball finally tied the game in the eighth before the familiar ending. The Orioles are 8-23 in one-run games, 5-18 under Oates.
"What's new? Same story," said Oates. "Ditto. Ibid. Footnote, whatever. Refer to the story of [pick any number of dates]. This has happened so many times this year."
For the record, the Orioles have been behind by at least 3-0 before the fourth inning 32 times.
"It's amazing how consistent we've been," said Oates. "We get even and can't get that one extra hit to get ahead."
Brewers second: Vaughn grounded out to shortstop C.Ripken. Surhoff doubled to left. Gantner walked. Sveum singled to left, Surhoff scored, Gantner to second. Molitor flied out to right fielder Martinez, Gantner to third. Randolph walked, Sveum to second. Jones relieved Smith. Hamilton doubled to left, Gantner and Sveum scored, Randolph to third. Yount struck out. 3 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 2 left on. Brewers 3, Orioles 0.
Brewers third: Stubbs homered to right on 2-1 count. Vaughn walked. Surhoff flied out to center fielder Devereaux. Gantner grounded out to first baseman Milligan, Vaughn to second. Sveum doubled down the left-field line, Vaughn scored. Molitor flied out to right fielder Martinez. 2 runs, 2 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Brewers 5, Orioles 0.
Orioles fourth: Horn grounded out to second baseman Randolph. Milligan doubled to left-center. Martinez walked. Gomez fouled out to catcher Surhoff. Hoiles doubled to left, Milligan and Martinez scored. Bell tripled to right, Hoiles scored. Devereaux flied out to left fielder Vaughn. 3 runs, 3 hits, 0 errors, 1 left on. Brewers 5, Orioles 3.