Wasted Opportunity

April 30, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

The Orioles had the bases loaded and no outs in the first inning and managed just one run. Catcher Chad Moeller led off the second inning with a triple and the seventh inning with a double - and didn't score either time. Nick Markakis, the potential tying run, was thrown out attempting a stolen base for the second out of the eighth inning after his single had cut the Los Angeles Angels' lead to one run.

An Orioles team that spent the first week and a half of the baseball season finding ways to win is now discovering ways to lose on a daily basis. In a 3-2 loss to the Angels on Wednesday afternoon that completed a two-game sweep and ended a highly disappointing homestand, the Orioles went just 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and allowed starter Shane Loux, who looked like he might get knocked out of the game in the first inning, to pitch six innings of one-run ball.

That ruined another solid effort by starter Koji Uehara, who made very few mistakes until allowing back-to-back homers in the seventh inning to Torii Hunter and Kendry Morales before he was knocked out of the game by a line drive from Gary Matthews Jr. that hit him in the chest. Uehara, who had X-rays taken that came back negative, has a bruised sternum and is expected to make his next start.

"When you get a guy on the ropes, you need to go ahead and take advantage and capitalize on it," Orioles leadoff man Brian Roberts said. "We certainly had our opportunities. [Aubrey Huff] and I were talking about it, and it just seems like when we pitch, we don't hit, and when we hit, we don't pitch. That's a bad combination right now.

"You can't get down yet. There are a lot of good teams out there that don't have the best records in the world right now. There is still a long ways to go, but we need to right the ship sooner rather than later."

The Orioles have the day off Thursday and then start a three-game weekend series at the division-leading Toronto Blue Jays on Friday. They'll bring with them a three-game losing streak and a stretch of 11 losses in 14 games after the conclusion of a 3-6 homestand. The Orioles' last five losses have all been by two runs or less.

"We had a lot of opportunities to win some games," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "It's frustrating, but there's not much you can do about it now. You've got to grind it out. You've got to be positive about it. I know we're capable of winning a lot of those games, and I'm sure we will."

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