Orioles' winning streak ended by White Sox

O's lose for the first time under Showalter

August 08, 2010|By Don Markus, The Baltimore Sun

Buck Showalter's magical touch as Orioles manager finally met reality Saturday night at Camden Yards. Not a harsh reality, but at least a reminder of why he was brought to Baltimore in the first place.

The Orioles squandered an early two-run lead and Kevin Millwood's best performance since early April -- if not the entire season -- to lose to the Chicago White Sox, 4-2, before an announced 24,129.

After Millwood limited the White Sox to one run and four hits in six innings and left with a 2-1 lead, the Orioles' bullpen let him down, giving up single runs in each of the last three innings, the last after an error by rookie third baseman Josh Bell.

The loss for the Orioles (36-74) was the first in five games under Showalter.

"I don't like losing -- I ain't real happy," Showalter said. "Great thing about our game, the positives and the negatives don't last too long. I got a chance right around the corner. ... It's not one of those deep, reflective moments. Figure out what went wrong and try to fix it tomorrow."

The one positive the Orioles can take out of the loss was the effort by Millwood.

Having allowed three first-inning runs in each of his past two starts, and not having left a first inning unscathed in five starts, the 35-year-old right-hander was even better than his much younger counterpart, Gavin Floyd.

The 27-year-old former Mount St. Joseph star gave up an early home run to Adam Jones (his 16th of the season) but settled down to retire 10 of the last 11 batters he faced. Despite the no-decision, it was a happy homecoming for Floyd.

"It's icing on the cake," said Floyd, who had about 30 family members and friends in attendance. "You can't really predict that you're going to pitch well, but you just go out there and try to give it your all, especially when family is here and friends, and it's nice. For a while there, I thought we'd tie it up earlier, but we tied it up late and played good defense and the offense turned around."

Millwood, who earlier in the season had pitched decently but received little offensive help, didn't get the same support -- even from plate umpire Jerry Crawford.

"I thought his command was better than the counts indicated," Showalter said. "You can read between the lines there."

Millwood gave up just one run -- a 408-foot home run to dead center by Carlos Quentin in the fourth inning to cut the Orioles' lead to 2-1 -- and four hits before giving way to Jason Berken to start the seventh.

"It was definitely nice to get out of the first. That's been haunting me for a while," Millwood said. Then after that, when I wanted to go in, I got the ball in. When I missed, I missed off the plate instead of over the middle for the most part. For me, selfishly, it was nice to go out and put together a solid start and give us a chance."

The Orioles should have given Millwood an even bigger cushion.

After Jones' 396-foot home run into the left-field stands gave the Orioles a 1-0 lead in the second and Ty Wigginton singled home Nick Markakis, who had doubled, in the third, Wigginton was tagged after hesitating between second and third.

Jones and Felix Pie opened the fourth with singles, and Floyd went 2-0 on Matt Wieters but escaped by getting him to ground into a double play and induce Cesar Izturis to ground weakly back to the mound.

"Kevin was good; he deserved a better fate," said Showalter, who said before the game that he was "curious" to see how Millwood would pitch. "He was the reason we were in that ballgame. We were going to [have to] pitch really well out of the bullpen to make that stand up."

Berken, who had given up 11 earned runs in his past 151/3 innings, walked Alexei Ramirez and then surrendered a run-scoring double to A.J. Pierzynski. After Juan Pierre led off the eighth with a single, Berken was replaced by Matt Albers, who gave up a sacrifice bunt and a single by Alex Rios.

After Albers retired the first two batters in the ninth, Bell's error on a hard ground ball by Ramirez and successive singles by Pierzynski and Gordon Beckham gave the White Sox (62-47) an insurance run.


Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.

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