O's lose temper, game to Rays

Cabrera, Tejada have words

leaky defense in 8th lifts Devil Rays, brings down Perlozzo

Devil Rays 6, Orioles 5

September 19, 2005|By Roch Kubatko | Roch Kubatko,Sun reporter

The shortstop and starting pitcher argued in the dugout. The manager gathered together his players for a post-game meeting, stressing that mistakes won't be tolerated, that it's not all right to simply put forth the effort. Results count, too.

Fourteen games remain in the Orioles' season. They promise not to be dull, no matter how far the team sits out of first place.

A throwing error and a wild pitch gave the Tampa Bay Devil Rays two runs in the eighth inning yesterday, breaking a tie, but not the tension, in a 6-5 loss before 25,980 at Camden Yards. The Orioles couldn't win the series or take any momentum on the road. All they packed were clothes and more frustration.

They headed to New York last night to begin a four-game series at Yankee Stadium, still resistant to being spoilers, but having little choice. They're 23-38 in the second half and 19-22 under Sam Perlozzo, who would welcome one calm week in his tenure.

The Bronx usually is the wrong place to look.

"We're not going out there to try to knock the Yankees out of the race. It's a game on our schedule. It's been there all year long. We knew we had to play them and we're going to try to play to win, just like we play the rest of them," Perlozzo said.

"I would hope the guys' energy level would pick up a little because you're in Yankee Stadium and there's going to be a crowd. It means something to the other team, but it means something to us because we should have enough pride to go out there and play our best baseball and make something happen."

Yesterday didn't bring out the best in the Orioles (70-78), who scored three runs in the sixth to tie the game before unraveling in the eighth.

Their rally enabled Daniel Cabrera to avoid a loss, but not Miguel Tejada's wrath. The two players exchanged words in the dugout after Cabrera came out, but the incident died down quickly.

"It was just a misunderstanding," Tejada said. "We don't try to fight. That's the first time I've argued with a player. I feel bad."

Cabrera, who went six innings, preferred to keep the matter closed when approached by reporters after the game. "Anything that happens in the dugout," he said, "that's where it stays."

"Not a big deal," Perlozzo said. "Just two people trying to help each other. Everything's cool. Miggy's trying to help him. Daniel's had a tough week. He's had a brother who's been operated on. But everything's cool. We still love each other."

Perlozzo was more concerned about fundamental breakdowns. Making his first start in left field, Bernie Castro overran a ball in the fourth inning that allowed a run to score and increase Tampa Bay's lead to 4-1. Earlier, he lost track of a fly ball on the base paths and was doubled off first.

Center fielder Luis Matos misplayed a single into a double in the fifth, but far more damaging was backup catcher Sal Fasano's error on a pitchout three innings later. Fasano, who had just entered the game after Geronimo Gil was removed for a pinch runner, bounced a throw to second on Joey Gathright's stolen-base attempt. The ball hit Tejada on the knee and rolled into center field, and Alex Gonzalez scored the go-ahead run.

Gathright raced to third, and he scored when Todd Williams' fastball tailed away from Fasano and went to the screen.

"I just tried to be too perfect, tried to throw it right on the bag and it short-hopped Miggy," Fasano said. "He did a good job trying to keep it in front, but I should have had him out."

Gonzalez led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. Gathright reached on an infield hit, but he should have been eliminated on the pitchout.

"We very easily could have been out of the inning," Perlozzo said.

The Orioles scored once in the ninth on two walks and a Brian Roberts single, but Fasano lined out to end the game. Perlozzo kept the clubhouse closed to reporters longer than usual so he could meet with his players. It wasn't a yell session, he said. Just a talk.

"There comes a time where you can't keep saying `It's OK, it's OK, it's OK.' It's not OK anymore," he said. "We need to bear down, and when there's runs to get out there, we need to get them. When you make a base-running mistake, it's not OK anymore. We're trying, but we've got to get better.

"I just wanted to get that message across to the team, that we're better than we're playing. We just need to concentrate a little bit more and it's not OK to not execute. As a team, I told them it's not going to happen next year, that it's not acceptable to make mistakes."

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

Orioles @ Yankees 7:05 tonight, Ch. 54, 1090 AM Starters: Orioles' Erik Bedard (6-7, 3.82) vs. Yankees' Chien-Ming Wang (7-4, 4.18)

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