On appeal, O's lose case to Indians

Overruled run on tag-up helps sink Orioles, 9-4, brings wrath of team

`There was never a question'

Bad hop to Bordick hurts later as win streak ends

May 07, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

With a mixture of frustration and bewilderment still in their eyes, Orioles manager Mike Hargrove, third base coach Tom Trebelhorn and center fielder Chris Singleton explained their objections to a call that went the Cleveland Indians' way last night, changing the complexion of a very eventful game.

Their focus wasn't on the bad-hop single that put Cleveland ahead in the eighth inning, or the subsequent bullpen collapse that let the Indians pull away for a 9-4 victory before 24,976 at Camden Yards.

Their focus was on third base umpire Paul Emmel's fifth-inning ruling that Singleton had left third base early when trying to score the go-ahead run.

Hargrove went across the field to argue Emmel's call, to no avail. Later, Hargrove watched the split-screen television replays and became even more convinced.

"I thought [Singleton] didn't leave too soon," Hargrove said. "I thought he was OK. I still think that."

Asked if he would have managed differently had the run stood, Hargrove said, "We should have been ahead 5-4 going into the sixth. You don't know, we'll never know because the call wasn't made the way we thought it should have been."

Singleton had just tied the game 4-4 with a three-run triple off Indians starter Ryan Drese, improving his lifetime average with the bases loaded to .433 (13-for-30). Jeff Conine followed with a pop fly to shallow right field, and Singleton made a gutsy decision to run. In those situations, he said, he always waits until the ball "hits leather."

Matt Lawton made the catch, and his throw to the plate bounced, as Singleton slid ahead of the tag. Singleton went to put away his helmet, not knowing that the Indians were appealing the play. Drese stepped off the pitching rubber and threw to third baseman Travis Fryman.

Emmel called Singleton out. Later, an attendant working the umpire's dressing room said Emmel had no comment.

"There was never a question," Singleton said. "I had no inkling there would be an appeal and I'd be called out."

The Orioles had come back to tie the score after being down 4-0, but the Indians scored the next five runs to end the Orioles' four-game winning streak.

"I think it kind of took a little bit of the wind out of our sails, even though we were still in it," Singleton said. "I can't get into the judgment call because I don't want to get in trouble."

Earlier in the fifth inning, the Indians' Omar Vizquel was thrown out on a rare attempt to steal home. Orioles pitcher Sean Douglass stepped off the rubber and fired home to catcher Izzy Molina, who applied the tag for the out.

But from there, the breaks went Cleveland's way.

With the score still tied 4-4 in the eighth, former Oriole Brady Anderson hit a two-out double. Orioles reliever Buddy Groom looked like he got out of the inning when Jolbert Cabrera hit a chopper toward shortstop Mike Bordick.

The ball skipped and then bounced high, deflecting off Bordick's glove and into center field. Anderson scored, and Russell Branyan followed with a two-run homer. Groom (1-1) had allowed just one run all season and hadn't allowed a home run since Florida's Cliff Floyd took him deep on July 17.

"Bad hop is what it was," Bordick said. "It wasn't a hop for the Orioles, that's for sure. It must have hit something in the grass. That doesn't happen very often here. It's unfortunate it happened to Buddy. He made a good pitch, and he would have been out of the inning."

Lawton later hit a two-run homer off Travis Driskill in the ninth, giving Cleveland a five-run lead. The Orioles' bullpen, which entered the game 4-1 with a 3.59 ERA, took the loss, giving up five runs in four innings.

Douglass, who didn't make it past the fourth inning in his first two starts, lasted five innings this time, allowing four runs on seven hits. He was in line for his first victory, when Singleton's run was pulled off the scoreboard.

From the third base coach's box, Trebelhorn had a similar view to Emmel's on the controversial play. Later, Trebelhorn went into the clubhouse to watch the television replays.

"I didn't see anything out of the ordinary," Trebelhorn said. "I thought I'd missed something until I saw the split-screen. ... Sometimes you see guys move early, maybe not separate from the base, but make some kind of movement that can be construed for leaving early, but I didn't see anything. I thought it was fine.

"He [Emmel] was sure. I think everyone in their life has been sure of something and also been wrong."

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Cleveland Indians

Site: Camden Yards

Time: 7:05

TV/Radio: Comcast SportsNet/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Indians' Chuck Finley (2-3, 6.20) vs. Orioles' Sidney Ponson (2-2, 4.54)

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