A's show O's error of their ways, 12-3

2 errors, DuBose help fuel 7-run 3rd inning as Orioles suffer 7th loss in 8 games

August 28, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

It has come to this for the Orioles. One of the biggest cheers they got all afternoon at Camden Yards came after the last out of the top of the third inning, the home team having just given up seven runs.

After watching the Oakland Athletics batter Eric DuBose for two long home runs and plenty more, B.J. Surhoff drop a fly ball and Chris Gomez fire an errant throw to compound the misery, the 33,195 in attendance yesterday erupted, giddy that the inning was finally over. The joy was tempered by the fact that were still 6 1/2 more innings to go.

The Orioles' 12-3 loss to the A's featured poor pitching and lousy fielding, joined with more failure from the Orioles' offense against the opposition's starting pitcher. It certainly wasn't a stretch to look at the Orioles' seventh loss in eight games as easily one of their worst performances of the year.

"It definitely wasn't good," said second baseman Brian Roberts. "We just have to do something to get out of what we're in. I don't know if it's lack of concentration or what. But we need to pick it up, have a little more pride than it seems like we're showing. I am not doubting anybody's effort, but at some point, we have to step it up a notch."

The loss, which was a mere formality after Oakland's two-run fourth gave it a 10-0 lead, dropped the Orioles (61-67) to a season-high six games under .500. They are 11 games out of the American League wild-card lead, which is now held by the A's (72-56) and New York Yankees.

Though most of the Orioles, including interim manager Sam Perlozzo, have been hesitant to admit it, any playoff hopes, which were momentarily revived after sweeping the A's from Aug. 15 to 17, have vanished. Once again, the Orioles will spend September playing out the schedule.

"You don't want to make the last month stretch," Roberts said. "Even though we are out of it and we are struggling, you have to find a way to do something good."

Yesterday, there were few positives for the Orioles. Melvin Mora hit a leadoff fourth-inning home run off Oakland starter Joe Kennedy, his 17th of the season, but his first since July 15, a span of 39 games. However, the Orioles managed only four hits and the one run off Kennedy (3-0), who was only starting because Rich Harden is injured.

In eight of their past 10 games, the Orioles have scored one run or fewer against their opponent's starter. They have scored four runs or fewer in 11 of their past 15 games.

"You have guys that are trying really hard," said Chris Gomez, who started at first base. "When things are going well, it's real easy. You go up there nice and relaxed. When things aren't going that well, it's human nature to try too hard. We're all competitors."

Maligned reliever Steve Kline pitched 3 1/3 scoreless innings to save the bullpen a little, but the Orioles trailed 12-1 when he entered the game. DuBose gave up six runs (five earned), six hits and three walks in two innings, including back-to-back home runs in the third to Bobby Crosby and Eric Chavez.

Crosby's home run, his second in as many nights, was a two-run shot into the right-field seats. Chavez then slammed a DuBose curveball onto the flag court in right field.

"I made a couple of mistakes up in the zone and it resulted in home runs," said DuBose (1-2). "It's just a battle right now. ... I am trying to weather the storm and wait for the brighter days."

Ten days earlier, DuBose allowed just one hit and no runs in six innings in beating the A's after learning he'd start just 20 minutes before the game when Daniel Cabrera was scratched. However, the left-hander has allowed 14 hits and eight earned runs while logging just four innings in his past two starts.

Even with Cabrera still injured and Sidney Ponson likely gone for the season, DuBose's spot in the rotation is now in jeopardy.

"We are going to check into that," Perlozzo said. "We were kind of hoping that [DuBose] would have had a good game today and we wouldn't have to think about that. But I would say we'll probably explore something."

James Baldwin, who relieved DuBose with no outs and two on in the third, gave up seven hits and six runs (four earned), but his line was skewed slightly because he was forced to get five outs in the third.

Surhoff dropped Mark Ellis' fly ball in right field, allowing Jay Payton (4-for-5) to score. Then, Gomez couldn't complete a double play as his throw to try to get Bobby Kielty at second never got to Miguel Tejada, and bounded into the outfield. Kielty advanced to third and then came around to score the A's eighth run on Jason Kendall's sacrifice fly. Those were two of the Orioles' three errors after two the previous night.

"You can only make so many excuses for that," said Perlozzo, who with the loss fell below .500 (10-11) for the first time. "Let's face it. We are major league baseball players. We're playing every day and you are not supposed to make mental mistakes. That's all there is to that."

Orioles today

Opponent: Oakland Athletics

Site/Time: Camden Yards/1:35 p.m.

TV/Radio: Ch. 13/1090 AM

Starters: Athletics' Dan Haren (10-10, 4.04) vs. Orioles' John Maine (1-0, 1.50)

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