Rangers 5 Orioles 3

O's can't catch break, fall to Texas

2-out fly eludes Payton, then Kinsler homers

July 06, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN REPORTER

For a fleeting moment, it appeared that Orioles left fielder Jay Payton had snared German Duran's drive into left-center and made a nice running catch that would have gotten Brian Burres out of the sixth inning with a one-run lead intact.

However, the ball bounced out of Payton's glove, starting a sequence of events that led to the Orioles' 5-3 loss last night to the Texas Rangers before an announced 19,006 at Camden Yards.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley removed Burres after Duran's double and brought in Lance Cormier, whose fifth pitch was drilled into the left-field seats by Ian Kinsler. The two-run homer gave the Rangers a lead that they would not relinquish.

The Orioles (44-42) will now have to win this afternoon - and they have lost on 12 straight Sundays - to avoid a losing homestand.

"A good pitch for him, not a good pitch for me," Cormier said. "I came in the game trying to get the out. I threw some cutters that missed away, and that cutter just didn't cut. ... I didn't throw the right pitch, I guess."

The loss was the latest indication of how much the Orioles miss Matt Albers, who is out until at least late August with torn cartilage in his right shoulder. Albers had been the man Trembley usually went to in the fifth or six inning with his team trying to hold a lead.

Since Albers went on the disabled list, Trembley has used several relievers to fill the sixth-inning void, with mostly negative results.

On Monday against the Kansas City Royals, Ryan Bukvich, who was designated for assignment yesterday, allowed two earned runs in the sixth, turning a comfortable lead into a one-run game in an eventual loss.

The next night, Adam Loewen helped bridge the gap to the back end of the bullpen with two scoreless innings, but he faltered two days later against the Royals. Brought on with the Orioles leading by four runs in the sixth, Loewen allowed three earned runs to score, and Chad Bradford also permitted a run.

Last night, it was Cormier's turn.

He fell behind 3-0 to Kinsler, got him to foul a ball off and then watched him deposit a fastball a couple of rows up in the left-field seats for his 14th homer.

"We're searching for that bridge when the starter goes out to get to those guys at the back end," Trembley said. "I would say that we need to find a better solution ... obviously than I've chosen the last couple nights."

Trembley would have had a different decision to make in the seventh had Payton been able to catch Duran's drive, which Burres had already chalked up as a double in the gap as soon as it left the Ranger's bat.

However, Payton got a great jump on the ball and used his speed to chase it down. He did everything but squeeze it and finish what would have been a "plus catch," according to Trembley.

"I was just lucky to get to it," Payton said. "I'm not making excuses. I got a glove on it, I think I should catch it, but it was just one of those balls. I stuck my glove out and it got in there, but it didn't stick."

Burres' pitch count was at 73 after Duran's double, but Trembley had seen enough hits (nine total) and sharply hit balls over 5 2/3 innings to think Cormier was a better matchup for the hot-hitting Kinsler than Burres was.

"If anybody's had the hot hand down there, it's been [Cormier]," Trembley said. "All the pitches, he tried to get away from him. [The] 3-1 pitch just got too much in the middle of the plate."

The Orioles' offense also shouldered some of the blame for the loss. It started the game against Scott Feldman with three consecutive hits, including Nick Markakis' two-run double, and scored three times in the first. However, the Orioles were shut down from there.

Luke Scott and Aubrey Huff stranded two runners, respectively, in the sixth and seventh, and Rangers closer C.J. Wilson struck out the side in the ninth.

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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