NEW YORK —
— If this indeed was Dave Trembley's final game as Orioles manager, it was a fitting end to his three-season run.
The Orioles' 6-3 loss to the New York Yankees before an announced 44,927 Thursday, the team's eighth straight defeat, had all the elements of so many other games during Trembley's tenure. They got a poor outing from a starting pitcher, this one by the normally effective Kevin Millwood. The offense was mostly overwhelmed by CC Sabathia, managing only three hits, though two of them were home runs.
They were overmatched throughout against a far superior opponent that has now beaten the Orioles eight straight times and in 19 of their last 22 matchups.
"We made it interesting at the end there, and it just didn't work out," said Trembley who remained stoic in perhaps his final postgame news conference as Orioles' manager.
It was believed that a poor road trip — and this one couldn't have gone any worse — ultimately could cost Trembley his job. Trembley hadn't heard from Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and wasn't sure of his fate as the club prepared to board a charter flight back to Baltimore Thursday evening. Trembley took over from Sam Perlozzo in 2007 and has compiled a 187-283 record in his time as manager.
MacPhail was at his Camden Yards office until 9:50 p.m. Thursday, about an hour after the team arrived from New York. He did not return a call made to his phone as he left the complex.
The Orioles (15-39 overall, 6-25 on the road) fell behind by two runs to the Yankees by the bottom of the first inning, and by four runs by the bottom of the third. They did enough offensively to bring up the tying run with no outs in the ninth inning against Mariano Rivera, but the Yankees closer fanned Luke Scott, retired Garrett Atkins on a groundout and then struck out Adam Jones to end it.
It completed a three-game sweep and a brutal 0-6 road trip for the Orioles, who were outscored 34-8 during that span. On the trip, the Orioles batted just .188, including a .138 average with runners in scoring position. The pitchers accumulated a 5.63 ERA after Millwood was charged with six earned runs on 10 hits and four walks over 5 2/3 innings in falling to a career-worst 0-6.
Alex Rodriguez landed the big blow with a two-run, opposite-field homer off Millwood in the third that gave the Yankees a 4-1 lead, and answered Jones' solo shot off Sabathia in the top half of the inning
"We are just going out trying to play hard and win some ball games," Millwood said. "Obviously, this road trip, we weren't very good at that. It's one of those things where it seems like nothing goes right. We can't put a complete game together. It is what it is, I guess."
The Orioles open a nine-game homestand Friday against the Boston Red Sox, but it isn't known at this point who will be in the dugout to guide the reeling club. Either way, Scott and Millwood became the latest Orioles to defend Trembley.
"I would say a lot less than he gets blamed for [is his fault]," Millwood said. "We haven't played good. I don't see it. I don't see how most of that is his fault."
Scott agreed, saying, "We're the ones that throw the ball, we are the ones that swing the bats and catch the ball. All the manager can do is put his best nine out there. I mean it's not his fault. What can you say? It's a very difficult game. It's unfair in a lot of aspects. All you can do is focus on tomorrow, come out tomorrow and play hard."
Trembley was obviously powerless to do anything but watch Sabathia mow through his lineup, allowing just one hit — Jones' sixth home run — and two baserunners over the first six innings. Scott got the Orioles back into the game by bashing a 2-0 pitch into the second deck in right field, his two-run homer in the seventh inning cutting the Yankees' lead to 6-3.
But after walking Garrett Atkins, Sabathia fanned Jones and retired Craig Tatum on a groundout to end his seven-inning outing. Sabathia improved to 12-1 in 17 career starts against the Orioles and has now won seven straight games against them, including his last three victories this season.
This year, Sabathia is 3-0 with a 2.78 ERA in three starts against the Orioles and 2-3 with a 4.69 ERA in nine starts against everybody else.
"You know a guy like Sabathia, usually you're going to have some opportunities early and if you don't get him, he's probably going to get a little bit stronger," Trembley said. "We did make him work later in the ball game, but he had a pretty good cushion to work with."
Millwood, on the other hand, struggled from the get-go, allowing two first-inning runs on a balk with a runner at third base, and Robinson Cano's RBI double.
When Rodriguez took him deep in the third inning to extend the Yankees lead, the result had pretty much become a formality, especially with Sabathia on the mound.
However, Trembley, stood on the top step of the dugout throughout, his hands hanging over the railings, his eyes covered by sunglasses.
He had already seen this type of game play out so many times before.
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