O's get no holiday from struggles, lose, 6-2

Jays capitalize on errors

Chacin makes short work of depleted Orioles lineup

September 06, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,SUN STAFF

His bat no longer of any use in the sixth inning yesterday, Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada raised it near his head and slammed it to the ground, the impact creating a thud and a small brownish cloud outside the batter's box. Finally, solid contact had been made.

The frustration is building within a team that has scored only three runs in the past 18 innings, a team that can't seem to catch a break, especially when the effort suddenly becomes excessive. Tejada struck out to strand Brian Roberts, who had three of the Orioles' seven hits. Their only runs came on a groundout and a caught-stealing play, stunting both rallies before they could blossom into something big.

Returning home after splitting six games on the road, the Orioles seemed almost lethargic in a 6-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays before 22,123 at Camden Yards. Starter Gustavo Chacin retired 16 of 17 batters before Roberts' second hit. The offense perked up after the sixth, too late to matter.

"That happens when a guy's pitching good against you," interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. "Good pitching makes you sluggish, or at least makes you look that way."

An energy boost wouldn't come from Rafael Palmeiro or Sammy Sosa, who rejoined the club but not the lineup. Palmeiro is returning to his Texas home to rehabilitate his sore right knee and ankle. Sosa still can't walk without pain after having a lesion removed from his right big toe, which is missing half its nail.

Melvin Mora also was held out of the lineup because of an illness in his family and poor career numbers against Chacin. He grounded out as a pinch hitter in the eighth.

Another September for the Orioles (64-73) brings the usual roster expansion and the same feeling of being undermanned.

"Guys are going out and playing hard, and that's all you can do," David Newhan said. "Eventually, you've got to start winning games."

The bullpen allowed the last four runs after starter Bruce Chen left the game. Two of them scored on errors.

A late replacement in right field, Newhan tried to double off Eric Hinske after making a diving catch, but nobody was covering first base. The ball skipped into the Orioles' dugout, and Toronto had a 4-1 lead.

It was Newhan's first career error in the outfield, and it occurred as Jay Gibbons, who switched from right to first base, correctly moved into position for the cutoff rather than retreating to the bag.

"I knew the runners were going and I didn't hear anything from anyone else, so I thought I had a play over there," Newhan said. "Or at the very least, somebody going over and stopping it from getting in the dugout."

In the ninth, Tejada bounced a throw off Alex Rios' batting helmet while trying to get the out at third on Hinske's RBI single.

"We couldn't seem to keep from making a mistake," Perlozzo said.

On another costly mistake, Roberts was caught stealing in the eighth after breaking too soon for second base with runners on the corners and none out. Luis Matos scored, but it wasn't worth the gamble.

"It obviously wasn't a good play," Perlozzo said. "But I'm sure he knows that."

Without a doubt.

"I messed up," Roberts said. "I was trying to make something happen. I made a mistake and it shouldn't happen."

An offense that keeps breaking down can't afford its fundamentals to do the same.

"David Newhan made a great play in right field, and the cutoff man is in position and the throw goes to the bag and nobody's there because they're not supposed to be, and we can't get back in time," Perlozzo said. "And then Miggy makes a great relay throw to third and it ends up being right at the runner. And everybody we brought in couldn't seem to get someone out that we needed to.

"It wasn't a good day for that kind of stuff."

It could have been much worse for Chen (11-9), who allowed two runs in six innings. He should be credited with something besides a loss for keeping the game close.

The Blue Jays had runners on second and third with none out in the second inning but scored only once. They were held to a single run in the third after two walks, and nobody crossed the plate in the fourth after Chen allowed a single and hit a batter to begin the inning.

"I guess I threw good pitches in key situations," he said.

Chacin (12-8) needed to put August behind him after going 0-3 with a 5.30 ERA in six starts, compared with 5-0 with a 2.97 ERA in July. The Orioles needed an easier opponent. They've scored four runs or fewer in 15 of their past 24 games and are a season-high-tying nine games below .500.

"I think we're going to swing the bats," Perlozzo said. "I think we're going to be OK."

Orioles tonight

Opponent: Toronto Blue Jays

Site/Time: Camden Yards/7:05

TV/Radio: CSN/1090 AM

Starters: Blue Jays' Ted Lilly (8-9, 5.52) vs. Orioles' Daniel Cabrera (8-11, 5.00)

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