O's lose cool in hot loss

Roberts, Perlozzo ejected as Seattle ends Bedard win streak despite scoring only 2 runs

Mariners 2 Orioles 1


It all became too much to bear -- the stifling heat, the boatload of missed opportunities and what several Orioles felt was an inconsistent strike zone. Even the most mild-mannered Oriole was overcome by frustration on an afternoon where the on-field temperature was well over 100 degrees.

Fed up by being called out twice on strikes by home plate umpire Mark Wegner, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts received his first career ejection after yelling at Wegner from the dugout. Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo picked up where Roberts left off in an animated face-to-face conversation, and also was tossed from the game.

They were not around to see the Seattle Mariners wrap up a 2-1 victory before an announced crowd of 17,682 yesterday at Camden Yards, dealing Erik Bedard his first loss in nine starts, and taking two out of three from the Orioles (49-60).

Adrian Beltre capitalized on one of Bedard's few mistakes, lining a 2-2 fastball into the left-field bleachers. His two-run homer in the first inning stood behind a solid start from Felix Hernandez and clutch relief work from three Mariners.

Bedard (12-7) allowed four hits and three walks over 5 1/3 innings, taking his first defeat since June 11. He still has not allowed more than two earned runs in his past eight outings.

"It's all about the team," Bedard said. "I just went out there and gave my team a chance to win. That's all I can do. ... I couldn't even throw the changeup for a strike, but I kept my curveball in the strike zone and made some good pitches when I had to."

Bedard also appeared to grow frustrated with Wegner's strike zone, especially in the sixth inning. At one point, Bedard even put his hands out after walking Eduardo Perez, as if to say, "Where was that pitch?" Asked after the game if he was annoyed by several calls, Bedard said, "You be the judge of that."

Roberts left little doubt that that was the case. He felt the pitch he was called out on in the fifth inning was high. Then in the seventh, he was up with a chance to drive in Nick Markakis from second and tie the game at 2. But he was called out by Wegner on a pitch that the second baseman was convinced was far outside.

Roberts had a couple of words for Wegner and then went back to the clubhouse to watch the replay, which confirmed his belief that the pitch was outside. He reminded Wegner of that from the dugout and was promptly tossed. Both Roberts and Perlozzo didn't feel what Roberts said deserved an ejection.

"I thought it wasn't a very good pitch that I got called out on the one before and that one with the tying run on second, it frustrated me," said Roberts, who said that he didn't think he'd ever been ejected his entire baseball career. "I don't usually say much. Most of the umpires know that. He looked at me and pretty much said that. But I was frustrated in that situation and wanted a chance to hit. To get called out on a pitch where you don't feel like you get a chance, that was hard for me."

Perlozzo said he didn't see the pitch, but after listening to several Orioles contest Wegner's strike zone during the game, he decided to discuss the matter following the bottom of the seventh.

"I knew that there was a lot of guys complaining today, so I knew they all couldn't be strikes," Perlozzo said. "At least I took a shot at it. There's nothing we can do about it once it's done."

The Orioles did have plenty of chances against Hernandez, the 20-year-old Venezuelan pitching phenom who has drawn comparisons to Dwight Gooden. Hernandez (10-9), who was 1-1 with a 7.50 ERA in his previous two starts against the Orioles, got out of a bases-loaded jam in the third by getting Miguel Tejada to ground out.

He left Corey Patterson at third in the following inning by retiring Ramon Hernandez. He was removed after walking Melvin Mora and Tejada to start the sixth. Seattle manager Mike Hargrove summoned reliever Mark Lowe, who after surrendering Jay Gibbons' RBI single, struck out Jeff Conine and got Patterson to line into a double play.

The Orioles were 1-for-8 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base. "We battled," Perlozzo said. "We just couldn't get anything going offensively."

Hargrove said that he felt the heat finally caught up to Hernandez, who allowed four hits, four walks and one run over five innings. Perlozzo also said that after throwing 93 pitches in a temperature that was 102 at game time, Bedard reached his limit in the sixth.

"I thought he got a little bit better starting in the third, but obviously, he got tired," Perlozzo said. "When I went out to the mound [in the sixth], I was really going to ask him, `Are you done?' and before I could even ask him, he handed the ball to me. He was gassed and that's understandable."

Said Bedard: "I was done. The sun kind of beat me down. I just had no more in me."


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