Another one down for weary O's

With end mercifully close, Red Sox deal them 6th loss in row, aided by Tejada error

Red Sox 6 Orioles 3

September 24, 2005|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

After last night, nine games remain on the Orioles' schedule, and perhaps the most tumultuous season in franchise history will officially be over. To say some of the Orioles are looking forward to next Sunday's season finale against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays would be a gross understatement.

"We are counting down the hours, not the days right now," said Orioles outfielder Jay Gibbons. "The second half of the year, it's been rough."

It's not getting any better by the day. An errant throw by shortstop Miguel Tejada last night led to a three-run Boston fifth inning and the Red Sox also got a mammoth two-run home run by Manny Ramirez to beat the Orioles, 6-3, before 46,850 at Camden Yards and extend their losing skid to six games.

Backed by seven strong innings from starter Bronson Arroyo, who shut the Orioles down after allowing three runs in the first three innings, the Red Sox (89-64) stayed one game back of the New York Yankees in the American League East. The Orioles (70-83) are now a season-high 13 games under .500.

"I am not tickled by this. I don't like losing. They don't like losing," Orioles interim manager Sam Perlozzo said. "We are capable. Tonight, we had [Arroyo] on the ropes, we could have put him away. You expect sooner or later, somebody is going to put someone away. How long are we going to wait? We only have nine games left."

The Orioles got two runs in the first on RBI singles from Tejada and Gibbons. They added a run in the third as Gibbons doubled in Tejada to give the Orioles a 3-1 lead. Tejada reached on a double of his own, his major league-leading 50th, tying the club record set last year by Brian Roberts.

"I was really excited when we came out of the chute," Perlozzo said. "I said, `All right, we got ourselves going again.' It was as much energy as I've seen. We just couldn't muster anything else."

The Orioles managed just one hit after David Newhan's fourth-inning double, a single by Bernie Castro in the ninth.

Closer Mike Timlin struck out Newhan to end the game, triggering a load roar from Red Sox nation, which made up well over half of the sellout crowd.

They cheered wildly in the seventh inning when Ramirez slammed Eric DuBose's fastball 420 feet into the visiting bullpen, his 40th homer giving the Red Sox a 6-3 lead. And they were also heard in the fifth, which Orioles starter Daniel Cabrera (10-12) should have exited unscathed, his team still leading 3-1.

But a throwing error by Tejada brought in one run and prolonged the inning in time for Trot Nixon's two-run double.

"Bad throw," said Tejada after a trying day for the shortstop, who met with reporters before the game to explain how his name got mixed up in the Rafael Palmeiro steroid scandal. "Anything can happen in this game."

After this season, the Orioles know that all too well. Manager of a team that has clinched an eighth straight losing campaign, Perlozzo is taking no solace in the Orioles' chance to play spoiler in the AL East. When informed of Gibbons' comments that some players are counting down the hours for the season to end, Perlozzo acknowledged that that has become a concern.

"I worry about it, absolutely," Perlozzo said. "They can say anything they want in the clubhouse. They can all want to go home. I don't want to hear it. And when they're in the dugout and on the field, I don't want to see it. I can't make it any plainer than that."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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