Orioles end skid against Red Sox
Five-run sixth inning puts Baltimore ahead for good
BOSTON -- If you were superstitious, you might wonder if Dave Trembley's used up all his karma. Baltimore's manager has been in the dugout for 10 days since being confirmed to stay in his position next season, but he's yet to see a single win.
The Orioles went through a nine-game losing streak at home before taking their act to Fenway Park, and Trembley was ejected Friday night long before his team managed to seal a 9-8 win over Boston that went all the way down to the final pitch.
"I'm glad I already took a shower and changed into my street clothes. I can tell you that," he said when it was over. "We hung in there. We made enough plays. We got enough hits. It's good for the team."
The Red Sox scored five unanswered runs in the final three innings and pushed the potential tying run to second base, but Baltimore closer Danys Baez coaxed a game-ending double play from catcher Jason Varitek. That was a fitting conclusion to an action-packed game, but Trembley's ejection set the tone for everything that followed it.
"I'll do what I've got to do to back up my team," he said after his first career ejection. "I'm not afraid. I'm not intimidated. You've got to do what you've got to do. And it's like I've told you guys before: Don't misrepresent kindness for weakness."
"I think Dave woke up everybody," added Miguel Tejada, who said the skid was the worst he's ever been through. "It's good to see our manager fighting for our side. That's why we worked hard to try to win this game. Sometimes, that is good. Somebody's got to do it. He's the captain of this team and he did it. We're really happy to see it."
Trembley went onto the field in the fourth inning to protest a play he regarded as obstruction, and after being rebuffed by one umpire, he got into an animated dispute with another one. Trembley said that crew chief Joe West cursed at him to precipitate the argument, and he went out of his way to demonstrate that it wasn't acceptable.
Trembley followed West all the way from third base to first base, jawing at him all the way. He appeared to make contact with the umpire at one point, but denied that after the game. Trembley -- who claims to never curse at anyone on the field -- described the altercation in detail and said he was surprised that West even got involved.
"I went out there and started arguing with [third-base umpire] Eddie [Hickock], and I know it's a subjective call," he said. "We were having a nice conversation and I said, 'Hey, I know you're not going to give me home plate there, but you've got to stand there and let me yell for a while. I've had a tough week.' He said, 'Go ahead.'
"Joe West comes over and I said, 'Joe West isn't going to be a den mother to Ed Hickock. He's a big-league umpire.' That's just the way that goes. He said something to me, and I've never talked to anyone like that."
West denied Trembley's claim that he escalated the argument and confirmed that there was contact between them, but refused to speculate on whether a suspension would be levied at the rookie manager.
"I didn't escalate any argument," he said after the game. "In fact, what he said to me was so funny, I walked away laughing. Then, he brought up a play that happened earlier in the game and I ejected him.
"They'll look at the film. They'll decide what they want to decide. I want to look at the film. I was walking back to first base and he kept trying to get in front of me. There was contact. They'll decide what they're going to do. It's not up to me."
Bench coach Tom Trebelhorn took over for Trembley and found himself faced with a difficult decision in the bottom of the fourth inning. Baltimore starter Radhames Liz had struggled with his command all night, and Trebelhorn elected to pull him after back-to-back walks with a two-run lead. From there, the Orioles had to rely on their bullpen.
"He had 0-2 and walked the guy on four straight pitches, then walked the next guy on four straight pitches. He looked a little bit overwhelmed," said Trebelhorn. "The inning before, he pitched OK and started using his changeup. We had just taken the lead and we needed some strikes. He threw 10 or 11 pitches, and eight of them were balls."
Southpaw reliever Kurt Birkins held the Red Sox right where they were, pitching three innings and allowing just one run. The Orioles (59-74) scored five more runs in the sixth inning and Nick Markakis drove three runs home with a home run. That blast put the road team ahead by six runs, but Boston made sure the endgame would be exciting.
The Red Sox (80-55) threatened to take control in the seventh inning, when they scored three runs to cut the lead in half. Jamie Walker allowed two hits in that inning, but Chad Bradford stranded two runners on a key ground ball. Bradford put another two runners on base in the eighth but got David Ortiz to ground into a threat-ending double play.
"I think the whole city of Boston was nervous too because they want Big Papi coming to the plate," said Tejada, speaking about the eighth-inning jam. "When you got a situation like that, the last guy you want to see at the plate is Big Papi. He's a guy that can tie the game on one swing. When we get him to hit into a double play, that's when we won the game."
In actuality, there was still more work to be done. Boston got two singles before Baez got an out in the ninth, and Eric Hinske singled one run home to bring the home team within two runs. Baez got another ground ball, but Melvin Mora made an error to score one run and extend the game. A few pitches later, Varitek grounded out to end it.
"I was just saying, 'Please God, kill me,' " Mora said of his error. "I wanted the Earth to open and for me to go. And poof, sand just to go on top. This was the last thing we were waiting for, especially when they hit it to me. Bad things are happening to us right now. But I'm glad we got this one."
"I told the players before the game that in seven of the nine games we lost, in 75 percent of those games we outplayed our opponents," said Trebelhorn. "The 25 percent is killing us -- whether it's pitching, defense or not scoring when we should've. The difference between being 5-4 and 0-9 were fairly manageable situations. ... This game, in about 90 percent of the game we outperformed them. And the 10 percent almost came back to beat us."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.