In one of his rare public admissions of frustration, Orioles manager Dave Trembley said before Friday's series opener against the Atlanta Braves that he is worn out by having to answer the same questions and wishes everybody would just "turn the page."
But Trembley has been around the game long enough to know that simply won't happen until his team does the same and finds a way to break an offensive slump that has put a stranglehold on its season.
The Orioles had their leadoff runner on in five of their first six innings and six of nine overall. They had 15 base runners in the first six innings and 19 for the game. They loaded the bases three times. And when it was all said and done, they had two runs on the scoreboard.
Their 7-2 loss to the Braves before an announced 28,469 at Camden Yards had the characteristics of so many of the Orioles' other defeats during their stretch of 10 losses in 12 games.
"I can't give you an explanation other than the fact it's just not getting done," Trembley said. "I don't know what else I can say."
Trembley called a brief 15-minute meeting before the game and implored his reeling team to relax and start having fun again. But fun and relaxation were the last things on the Orioles' minds after they stranded 13 base runners and permitted Braves prized rookie Tommy Hanson to get his first major league win on a night when he allowed 14 Orioles to reach base in 5 2/3 innings.
The Orioles, a season-worst 11 games under .500 at 25-36, have scored three runs or fewer in 11 of their past 12 games, and tallied just 17 runs in their past 101 innings.
"I left a [boatload] on," said center fielder Adam Jones, who stranded six and is in a 1-for-18 slump. "I left too many on base. We all left too many on base. Things aren't going our way. You can't do nothing about it but keep swinging."
Given very little margin of error, rookie starter Jason Berken (1-3) lost his control and got knocked out of the game in the fifth inning. Brian McCann's run-scoring base hit - he was 4-for-4 with two RBIs - broke a tie at 2 and ended Berken's evening.
Matt Albers came on and walked a run home, leaving Berken's line at four earned runs on eight hits and a walk over 4 1/3 innings. In his past two starts, Berken has allowed 13 earned runs, 15 hits and four walks over 7 2/3 innings.
"At this level, when you fall behind hitters it's tough to get guys out consistently," said Berken, who surrendered a two-run homer to Yunel Escobar in the first inning. "I felt overall my stuff was pretty good, but feeling good doesn't get you guys out."
One positive for the Orioles was a two-hit day for catcher Matt Wieters, who has three-straight multi-hit contests. But that was lost amid a mind-boggling number of missed opportunities that started in the first inning.
"Well, that's what it's been for the past week or so," Wieters said of the team's offensive struggles. "We're just assuming the two-out hits are going to come soon."
Braves right-hander Peter Moylan relieved Hanson and inherited three base runners in the sixth. He struck out Jones on three pitches. Jones came up with the bases loaded again in the eighth and grounded into an inning-ending fielder's choice. All told, he swung at eight straight pitches in his final two at-bats.
"It doesn't mean nothing to me," Jones said. "My approach is the same. I'm just going up there and trying to hit the ball. It's just not working for me right now."
He has plenty of company.
"Obviously, there are guys who care. We all care, and it hurts," Trembley said. "But no one is going to feel sorry for you. We got beat. We did the best we could. That's it."
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