Quick Fix Fails O's

Bergesen Unable To Slow White Sox In 4-run 5th After Wigginton's Error

July 19, 2009|By Dan Connolly | Dan Connolly,dan.connolly@baltsun.com

CHICAGO - -For the past three months, Orioles players and coaches have lauded rookie right-hander Brad Bergesen for his brisk pace on the mound.

In the fateful fifth inning of Saturday's 4-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox, Bergesen's rapidity got the better of him, and he quickly allowed a shaky situation to mushroom.

By the time he walked off the mound, he had surrendered six straight hits and, essentially, had been tagged with his fourth loss of the season.

"He works very fast and there are times in the game where you want to slow the tempo of the game down," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "I think he'll learn from that."

Cruising into the fifth with a 1-0 lead, Bergesen had limited the potent White Sox lineup to three hits. Everything changed, however, when Alexei Ramirez hit a one-out grounder to short that Cesar Izturis fielded cleanly.

Izturis' hard throw bounced in and out of the glove of first baseman Ty Wigginton, who looked surprised to see the ball sitting on the ground.

"I've never done that before. It's a play that needs to be made," said Wigginton, the club's super-utility player who has started 16 times at first base this season. "It's, in my opinion, one more error than a first baseman should make all year."

Three pitches later, White Sox slugger Jermaine Dye crushed Bergesen's pitch into the left-field seats for his 21st homer of the season and a 2-1 White Sox lead.

The normally unflappable Bergesen shook his head and spun in disgust as soon as Dye's bat made contact with the ball.

"It was just one of those that as soon as it got about halfway there and he loaded up, you just knew he was going to put a great swing [on it]," Bergesen said. "And once he hit it, it was just a no-doubter. So I kicked the dirt and moved on from there."

He moved on, perhaps too quickly. Instead of taking a deep breath and collecting his composure, Bergesen kept firing. And the White Sox kept swinging.

On Bergesen's second pitch after Dye's homer, Jim Thome doubled - the sixth straight at-bat in which he reached base, dating to Friday's fifth inning. Bergesen then machine-gunned 10 more pitches, and the White Sox singled four times.

"There is a time to back off and a time to speed up," Trembley said. "Especially when you've got guys that are basically running from the on-deck circle to get in the batter's box."

Overall, Bergesen (6-4) gave up six hits on 15 pitches after Wigginton's error.

"Once I started getting into a little bit of trouble, I started rushing myself and not slowing it down and [not] really concentrating on each pitch," Bergesen said.

The White Sox would have scored more in the fifth, but Orioles outfielders Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis each threw out a runner at home plate. Markakis' bullet nabbed Chris Getz, who was attempting to score from second, to end the threat.

Bergesen allowed a double to start the sixth - the seventh consecutive hit he yielded - before settling down and retiring three straight.

But the damage was done, dropping the Orioles (40-50) to 14-29 on the road this year. They are now 1-6 in games Bergesen starts on the road and 8-2 when the rookie starts at Camden Yards.

Bergesen was charged with four runs, two earned, in six innings. It was his ninth quality start in 10 games.

"I'm really big on taking a negative and turning it into a positive, and that's what I am going to do," he said. "Learn from this experience as far as just trying to slow the game down when I need to."

Despite a 12-hit attack, the Orioles couldn't rattle Chicago starter Mark Buehrle (10-3), who allowed one run in 7 1/3 innings and improved to 5-2 with a 2.34 ERA in his career against Baltimore, his lowest ERA versus any American League team.

The best scoring chance for the Orioles came in the eighth, when they loaded the bases with one out, but reliever Matt Thornton induced a shallow fly ball by Aubrey Huff and then struck out Wigginton on a borderline, full-count strike.

"I thought it was a ball; otherwise I would have swung," Wigginton said. "I was looking away. It was away and I thought it was off the plate away."

The Orioles scored two runs off Chicago closer Bobby Jenks in the ninth, but he picked up his 21st save when Markakis grounded out.

Dropping two straight to start the second half, the Orioles have lost a series to an AL Central team for the first time since 2007 against the Detroit Tigers. The White Sox (47-43) have won 14 of their past 20 games.

"It's definitely tough," Wigginton said of his key miscue. "Especially when Dye hit the home run, I felt as if maybe I took him [Bergesen] out of his rhythm. I figured Bergy, the way he has picked every infielder up all year, he battles right through that.

"And it didn't work out today."

Box score

for Saturday's game PG 4

ORIOLES@ WHITE SOX

Today, 2:05 p.m.

TV: MASN2

Radio: 105.7 FM

Inside

O's not ready to move Hill to bullpen PG 5

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