Orioles' bullpen implodes in 7-5 loss

Simon allows tying 2-run HR to Cabrera

Hernandez gives up walk-off 2-run shot to Damon

  • Orioles reliever David Hernandez walks off the field after giving up a walk-off, two-run home run to Johnny Damon in the 11th inning in Detroit. The Orioles lost, 7-5.
Orioles reliever David Hernandez walks off the field after… (Paul Sancya, Associated…)
July 07, 2010|By Dan Connolly, The Baltimore Sun

DETROIT —

One day after playing a game in which everyone holding a bat seemed to score, the Orioles and Detroit Tigers stayed away from home plate for much of Tuesday.

Then both sides exploded again, this time in the late innings, as the Tigers staged a ninth-inning rally and then Johnny Damon hit a two-run, walk-off homer in the 11th to give Detroit a 7-5 win.

Damon's home run, which ended a 3-hour, 56-minute marathon, came against David Hernandez (3-7) on a night when Damon also notched his 2,500th career hit.

"I threw the first two fastballs for strikes, and he hit the third one out," Hernandez said of Damon. "Obviously, it was a missed location and he hit it over the fence, so it's probably not where I should have thrown it."

The Orioles (25-58) had 17 hits but left a season-high 17 men on base and were 3-for-17 with runners in scoring position.

With his team trailing 5-3 in the bottom of the ninth, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera crushed a pitch from Alfredo Simon 407 feet into the night for a game-tying, two-run homer.

Simon, who had blown just one save in 11 previous chances, was asked to pick up a five-out save for the first time as a closer. He survived the eighth, entering with a runner on third and one out and not allowing a run.

The ninth was a different story. He walked Damon and struck out Magglio Ordonez before Cabrera tied the score with his 21st homer of the season.

"There was no doubt he was the guy to go back out there," Orioles interim manager Juan Samuel said of Simon. "He just unfortunately hung a split-finger pitch to Cabrera, and those guys don't miss them."

It was the second consecutive inning in which the Tigers scored two runs. Using triples by Cabrera and Brandon Inge and an RBI single by Brennan Boesch, the Tigers scored twice against Orioles reliever Jason Berken in the eighth.

Berken recorded a key strikeout of Ordonez to end the seventh. But, much like Simon, he couldn't duplicate the effort his second inning on the mound.

All but one of the game's runs was scored after the sixth.

Heading into the seventh, the Orioles were down 1-0 and had stranded 10 base runners. But they took the lead on Nick Markakis' two-run homer and added a third run in the seventh on an RBI single by Felix Pie, who was playing his first bigleague game since April 15.

The bullpen, however, couldn't hold the lead for Jake Arrieta, who is winless in his past four starts after winning his first two. Arrieta allowed seven hits, two walks and one run while striking out four in 61/3 innings.

Arrieta allowed a base runner in all but two of the innings he pitched, but only one scored -- on an RBI single by Alex Avila in the second inning. Detroit took the 1-0 lead into the seventh, when Markakis hit his fifth home run of the season and second in five games, a two-run shot that gave the Orioles a 2-1 lead. Markakis added an RBI single in the eighth to make it 4-1.

"Right now, I am pretty physically and mentally exhausted, as well as the rest of the team," Arrieta said. "It was a long game. It was pretty hot out there, and we were really locked in for the most part."

Early on, the low-scoring battle couldn't have been more different from the first game of the series Monday, when the teams combined for 14 runs in the first two innings in an eventual 12-9 Detroit victory.

The Orioles threw 80 pitches in the first two innings Monday; Arrieta didn't throw his 80th until the sixth Tuesday.

Armando Galarraga, who nearly threw a perfect game in a shutout of the Cleveland Indians on June 2, was far from perfect Tuesday.

He allowed 10 hits and three walks and hit a batter. And he still had a shutout bid before serving up Markakis' homer. Galarraga was yanked three batters later after Matt Wieters tripled to right-center, the lumbering catcher's second career triple. His only other one also came against the Tigers, off starter Justin Verlander on May 30, 2009. It was Wieters' first majorleague hit.

The Orioles took a 3-1 lead when Pie singled home Wieters. Pie, who was batting .400 in eight games before tearing a muscle in his back, slapped his hands as he ran up the first base line.

Pie eventually was thrown out trying to steal second to end the seventh -- or was he? Julio Lugo was at the plate and pulled his bat back on the pitchout with two strikes, which looked as if it might be strike three.

But plate umpire Joe West didn't see it as a swing, so Tigers catcher Avila's throw to second nabbed Pie trying to steal. It led, however, to some confusion in the top of the eighth, when Cesar Izturis came out to the on-deck circle to lead off the inning, with Corey Patterson following him.

Lugo then came out of the dugout, sent Patterson back to the bench and walked in front of Izturis to head into the batter's box again. The Tigers never questioned that the Orioles were batting out of order, so West's non-strikeout call, and the caught stealing, stood.

It was one of two strange plays with Lugo at the plate. In the second, he attempted to bunt and fouled off a pitch. West called him out because it was the third strike of the at-bat. But the Comerica Park scoreboard had the count at 2-1, so Lugo assumed he had a strike to play with.

Lugo looked as if he got his revenge in the ninth with an RBI single that gave the Orioles an insurance run. That, though, was wiped away by Cabrera's ninth-inning homer.

"It's a tough loss for us," Arrieta said. "I felt the team fought really well. It was just one of those games that was real close that didn't end up going our way."

dan.connolly@baltsun.com

http://twitter.com/danconnollysun

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