O's again left stranded as A's finish sweep

Two rallies are wasted in 12-inning, 10-5 defeat, leaving club 8 under .500

August 30, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

Sam Perlozzo got a running start yesterday and didn't slow up until he reached second base to dispute a call. The argument never gained as much steam as the Orioles' interim manager, who had every reason to head straight for the warning track, climb the fence and not look back.

These are difficult times for anyone in uniform - a third-base coach, a relief pitcher and a manager who doesn't want to be judged solely on results. Perlozzo is ready to keep the job at the major league level, and it would be nice if the Orioles made the seat inside Lee Mazzilli's old office a little more comfortable.

After rallying twice from deficits, the Orioles passed on a chance to take the lead in the eighth, and reliever Jorge Julio surrendered home runs to rookie Nick Swisher and Mark Ellis in the 12th to give the Oakland Athletics a 10-5 victory at Camden Yards and a four-game sweep.

Swisher's two-run shot came after Eric Byrnes dropped a fly ball in left-center field. Two singles and a stolen base preceded Ellis' homer, leaving the Orioles with only one win on the seven-game homestand.

"There are two things you can do: You can walk away with your tail between your legs or you can pick it up and go after them tomorrow," Perlozzo said. "We're going to choose to pick it up and go get them."

The Orioles (61-69) are a season-high eight games below .500 as they head to Toronto to begin a road trip that also includes a stop in Boston to play the first-place Red Sox. Apparently, a charter flight is needed to go from bad to worse.

"All losses are tough, but I was really proud of the guys," Perlozzo said. "They battled today. I can't say enough about how well they hung in there. I felt bad for the team."

The Orioles didn't score the tiebreaking run in the eighth after putting runners on the corners with none out. Luis Matos held at third on a slow chopper by Sal Fasano as shortstop Marco Scutaro fielded the ball, stepped on second and completed the double play. Brian Roberts grounded out, and the Orioles paid for their hesitancy.

Perlozzo wanted Matos to break on contact, figuring a rundown would keep the Orioles out of a double play. Third base coach Rick Dempsey apparently didn't get the message and instructed Matos to hold.

"It was bad judgment on my part," Dempsey said. "It wasn't his fault at all. It was 100 percent my fault. He did exactly what I told him to do.

"I didn't even see the ball until it got past the mound and it was that part of the evening where you can't really see the ball that well. I've got to live with that. We could have had that game over a lot quicker. It's my fault all the way."

Said Matos: "Your third base coach tells you to stay, you stay. I don't want to look like a bad runner."

Perlozzo took the blame, citing his 14 years' experience as a third base coach. Dempsey inherited the job earlier this month after Perlozzo became manager.

"Normally that's an automatic situation that you go on, and I guess that comes back to me," he said. "It's a situation where you want to stay out of a double play no matter where the ball's hit, and I guess I didn't relay that information well enough.

"There's a lot of stuff that's absolutely automatic to me because I've done it for a lot of years. I could have been adamant about it, I guess."

The Athletics, who outscored the Orioles 36-12 for their first four-game sweep at Camden Yards, were willing to accept charity.

"We lucked out," third baseman Eric Chavez said. "That was definitely a brain cramp. After that, we felt like we were playing with house money."

Julio (3-4) didn't allow a base runner in the 11th, but he couldn't get anyone out in the 12th. He allowed three runs Sunday without retiring a batter.

"I don't know what happened. It's a bad year," he said. "Right now I don't know my role, I don't know what's happening, I don't know nothing."

Byrnes appeared to run down Dan Johnson's fly ball, but it popped out of his glove and rolled to the warning track.

"It just came out," Byrnes said. "I have no excuses. I should have made that play."

The Orioles took a 3-2 lead, their first of the series, in the fifth inning, but Johnson hit a three-run homer in the sixth. Erik Bedard had retired 14 in a row.

After the loss, Fasano crouched beside Julio and tried to console the reliever, who hung his head at his locker. He could have worked the entire room.

"We all played our hearts out," Fasano said. "Teammates should take care of one another. We all make mistakes. We had a guy at third base and less than two outs and grounded into a double play. He's not the only one who [messed] up today."

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