Shortchanged yet again

Angels 6 Orioles 5

Burres lasts just 1 2/3 innings as O's lose fourth straight

July 26, 2008|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,Sun reporter

Orioles left-hander Brian Burres stood at his locker, fielded several questions and offered one consistent answer.

He can't pitch as he did in the Orioles' 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Angels last night at Camden Yards and expect his team to win.

"You can't just throw up a five-run deficit or something like that up there. You just can't do that to your team," Burres said.

"I need to do a better job."

In fact, he can't pitch as he did last night and expect to keep his spot in the starting rotation.

Burres (7-7) lasted just 1 2/3 innings, allowing seven hits, including two homers, and five runs before the Orioles took their second turn at-bat.

It was the second shortest start of his career, and Burres tied Steve Trachsel for the shortest noninjury-related start of the 2008 season. It was the fifth time in 11 games Burres has given up two or more homers - a span in which his ERA has ballooned from 3.16 to 5.37.

"I am just not pitching as well," Burres said.

"I can't put a finger on anything specific, but ... it would be nice to get back to the way I was."

After the game, Orioles manager Dave Trembley was noncommittal when asked whether he and pitching coach Rick Kranitz might re-evaluate Burres' spot in the rotation.

"It's too soon," he said.

"The game just got over and I've had about five minutes to catch my breath here. I'll discuss the situation with Kranny."

Trembley, instead, concentrated on his club's resilience, rallying from a five-run, second-inning deficit to put the tying run at second base in the ninth. The Orioles' bullpen, led by Dennis Sarfate (3 1/3 hitless innings) and Alberto Castillo (two hitless innings) allowed just two hits and one run in 7 1/3 innings to keep the game tight.

"These guys will battle their [butts] off all the time, no matter what," Trembley said.

"You come back 5-0 against the team that's the best team in baseball, that ought to tell you something."

The Orioles closed the gap to 5-4 with a homer by Kevin Millar in the third against Angels starter Joe Saunders (13-5) and a three-run seventh that featured a two-run double by Jay Payton. Millar scored the third run of the inning on a passed ball, but Angles reliever Scot Shields entered to face Brian Roberts and struck him out looking to end the threat.

The Angels got a run back on Garret Anderson's RBI single in the eighth against Chad Bradford, giving them a two-run lead when closer Francisco Rodriguez entered in the ninth.

With two outs, Millar hit his second solo homer of the night, and then Brandon Fahey followed with a line drive to center that he hustled into a double. The Orioles were 180 feet from a tie, but Rodriguez picked up his major league-leading 43rd save when Luke Scott grounded to first.

The Orioles (48-54) have dropped four straight and 13 of their past 17 and are 3-6 since the All-Star break.

"Once again, I thought we battled," Millar said.

"We just couldn't get that last knock, but we were right there."

It was too deep of a hole against the Angels (63-39) - baseball's best team. And a scuffling starting rotation once again created it.

Burres' early exit was the seventh consecutive time the Orioles' starting pitcher failed to complete six innings. The Orioles are 2-5 in those games, and their starters are 1-4 with an 8.73 ERA and have allowed 32 runs in 33 innings in that span.

"I think it's pretty evident that the bullpen has been worked a great deal," Trembley said.

"Everybody knows the numbers. The starters have not gone where we expected them to go - deep in games. We'll have to put our thinking cap on and see what we can do to make it better."

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