Baltimore swept out of the Bronx
Burres pitches well, but two mistakes prove costly
NEW YORK -- Orioles manager Dave Trembley said the words with certainty, hardly allowing for any other outcome.
"[Brian Burres] will pitch a very good game tonight," Trembley said before Wednesday's game, then he sat back and watched as his prediction came true.
Burres was highly effective and worked into the eighth inning of a tight game, but the Orioles came away with a 2-1 loss to the Yankees that sealed a series sweep in which Baltimore was outscored, 22-6.
"There's something to be said for the power of positive thinking," Trembley said after the game. "Burres is a guy that you have to get to believe who he is and what he has -- get him to get focused. You've got to challenge him. Not that you don't have to do that with everybody else, but I know Burres. I had him in the Minor Leagues. He responds to these kinds of outings."
The Orioles had plenty of chances to tie the game, and none of them was better than the one that came in the eventful ninth inning. New York's Mariano Rivera issued a pair of two-out walks to load the bases and bring rookie pinch-hitter Scott Moore to the plate, but Rivera proceeded to strike out the youngster looking to end the game and earn his 30th save of the season.
"You need to go up there and concentrate and have a good at-bat. I didn't swing it," said Moore, who was acquired from the Cubs in the Steve Trachsel trade. "The guys in front of me battled, got on base and gave us an opportunity to win. I didn't do my job."
Moore was batting for Brandon Fahey, who had replaced Jay Payton after Payton was thrown out of the game for arguing balls and strikes, punctuating the dispute by flinging his bat behind him and toward the umpire. It was his third ejection of the season -- and second this series -- and could merit a suspension from the league office.
"I don't have anything to say," Payton said after the game. "All I'm going to do is get myself in more hot water if I speak."
"He's obviously frustrated, as are a lot of other people," added Trembley. "I'll have to talk to him about it."
Burres, who had been exiled to the bullpen for most of August and September, has now pitched at least seven innings and allowed two earned runs or fewer in two straight starts. The rookie southpaw held the Yankees to just five hits and five runners in scoring position, and the only runs he allowed came on a solo home run and a wild pitch.
The home run -- a blast to right field by Hideki Matsui in the second inning -- broke open a scoreless tie, and neither team scored again until the fifth. New York pushed runners to first and third with two outs in that rally, which brought cleanup hitter Alex Rodriguez to the plate. Burres snapped off a high-and-wide wild pitch to score one run but retired Rodriguez on a lineout.
"It's good to go out there, throw well and try to pick some people up," Burres said. "I wish I could've come away with a 'W' here, but you do what you can. I just wish [I didn't throw] that one pitch over [catcher Ramon Hernandez's] head. Maybe we're still playing at 1-1 or something like that."
"When he has command of his fastball, he's pretty darn good," said Trembley. "He had it tonight. He mixes up his pitches [and] he pitches inside. He just looks a whole lot more comfortable when he knows that he's going to pitch every five days. He's opened my eyes and hopefully a lot of other people's eyes for next season [to be] a starter in our rotation."
The Orioles (64-87) couldn't do much against New York's Andy Pettitte, who has won eight of his last nine decisions. Pettitte (14-8) kept pace with Burres and only allowed one run, on a one-out single in the sixth inning. The veteran worked into the eighth and handed the ball to rookie Joba Chamberlain, who got one out and then yielded to Rivera.
Baltimore's setback added to the worst record in one-run games of any big league team. The Orioles have the most losses (29) and fewest wins (11) of any team in that circumstance. Baltimore is also 6-22 in its last 28 games, a stretch that began with a 30-3 loss to Texas last month. Perhaps fittingly, the Orioles will play their next series against the Rangers.
"I told them the truth: They played their hearts out tonight," Trembley said. "They wanted to win, and we fully expected to win tonight. It didn't happen, but it's not because we didn't put forth the effort. The will and desire to get it done was certainly there, right from the first pitch to the last."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.