Trip ends in fall

After 2 straight solid starts, Olson falters

Angels 9 Orioles 4

August 07, 2008|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,Sun reporter

ANAHEIM, Calif. - As he stood on the top step of the dugout Tuesday night, the Orioles' Garrett Olson was given a tutorial on how a left-handed pitcher can succeed against the Los Angeles Angels.

Apparently, Olson didn't take good enough notes from fellow rookie Chris Waters' one-hit, eight-inning gem. Failing to build off Waters' performance and two straight solid starts, Olson was knocked around for six earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings in the Orioles' 9-4 defeat yesterday before an announced 40,130 at sun-splashed Angel Stadium.

"We had some momentum going on our side after [Tuesday] night's game, and you come in here and before you know it you're down," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "It's always going to be starting pitching. Starting pitching not only sets the tone for you but gives you the feeling that you're going to have a chance, one way or the other."

Before the Orioles' second batting turn against Angels right-hander Ervin Santana, they trailed 3-0, two of the runs coming on Vladimir Guerrero's home run on a pitch that Trembley said "looked like it was on a tee."

The Angels got an additional run in the second inning on Jeff Mathis' solo homer and tacked on two more in the third to make the score 6-1, all but ending any chance the Orioles (54-59) had of ending an otherwise solid road trip with a victory. They went 5-4 on a trip during which they moved past the trade deadline with their roster intact but lost center fielder Adam Jones to a potential season-ending injury.

They took two of three from the New York Yankees and Seattle Mariners before winning one game in a three-game set against the major league-best Angels.

"I think it's a good road trip. If we would've won today, it would've been a great road trip," Trembley said. "There's some room for improvement, but I can't fault the effort. It's just that at this particular point in time, we know we're capable of doing more if everything just kind of goes a little bit better."

There were some positives yesterday, starting with a memorable first major league start from outfielder Lou Montanez, 26. In his first major league at-bat and on just the second pitch he saw, Montanez crushed Santana's fastball over the left-center-field wall. In doing so, he became just the second player in Orioles history and the first position player to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat. Pitcher Buster Narum did it May 3, 1963, at Detroit.

"You never expect that, but you do envision this when you were a kid for your first at-bat. You want to go deep, and it actually came true, so it's real special," said Montanez, who went 2-for-4. "That means a lot. It means my name's going to be in the record books for as long as baseball exists, so it's real neat."

Nick Markakis hit a three-run homer in the fifth inning to cut the Orioles' deficit to 9-4 and give him seven RBIs in the series. Defensively, center fielder Jay Payton, playing for the injured Jones, made two outstanding catches, jumping against the wall and taking away a home run from Juan Rivera in the fifth and crashing into the wall to rob Erick Aybar of an extra-base hit in the sixth.

"You don't really think about the wall," Payton said. "The only time you think about the wall is when you're in Wrigley [Field] because if you hit that wall, you're not going to get up. For the most part, you just try to find the wall and make a play."

But unfortunately, nothing was going to save Olson on this day. Pitching in front of about 30 family members and friends, Olson, a California native who beat the Angels last month to end the Orioles' Sunday losing streak, allowed seven hits, including two home runs, walked two and uncorked a run-scoring wild pitch. It tied his shortest start of the season.

"It just kind of escalated the wrong way," Olson said. "I think the bottom line is if you make better pitches, you're going to see better results."

jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

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