O's snap more than one skid with win
Baltimore takes first Sunday victory after 15 losses
BALTIMORE -- The questions can stop, and so can the needless speculation. The season's most inexplicable trend came to an end on Sunday, when the Orioles managed to win on that day for the first time in 16 tries. Baltimore had dropped 15 straight Sunday games before churning out a 5-2 win over the Angels, a skid that was tied for the longest since 1939.
The only other team in the last 50 years to lose that many consecutive games on a specific day of the week was the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks, who lost on 15 straight Saturdays. The all-time record remains 21 straight losses, set by the 1890 Pittsburgh Innocents (Fridays) and tied by the 1939 St. Louis Browns (Tuesdays).
With that in mind, perhaps it wasn't a shock to see buttoned-down manager Dave Trembley arrive for the postgame interview carrying a lit cigar. Trembley, who puffed away between answers, announced that he wouldn't respond to any questions about the streak and that he'd only reference it as part of an unsolicited preamble.
"It's done. It's dead," Trembley said. "Put it to rest. I will not take one question."
Thankfully, his players didn't enact the same rule. Most of the Orioles, who had also lost five straight games overall, were as happy to be done with the streak as they were to know they could stop talking about it.
"It's definitely awesome," said starter Garrett Olson. "Last Sunday we were all kind of fed up. It was definitely a goal of mine, and I think everybody here just wanted to end it finally. Fortunately for us, we did, and now we can move on."
"To be honest, when you're out there, you don't really think about what day it is," added closer George Sherrill, who worked the ninth for his 30th save. "It's just a big win for us, heading on the road. Hopefully, we can win a couple series and start getting back on the winning track. It's good that we don't have to answer questions about it now, I guess."
Strangely enough, the Orioles won their first Sunday game of the season, taking a 3-2 victory over Seattle on April 6. But then they turned around and lost 15 straight, being outscored, 85-46, in the process. Eight of the 15 setbacks came directly after a victory, and eight were by one run, making things even more frustrating for the people involved.
And into that void stepped an unlikely starter and an unlikely lineup to end the streak. Olson had allowed at least five earned runs in each of his four previous starts, and the Orioles gave days off to three regulars. Light-hitting reserve Brandon Fahey batted leadoff for the first time all season and helped ignite the game's first rally with a single.
"It probably looked to you guys like I put the shock troops out there," said Trembley. "But they came through."
Baltimore (49-55) scored twice in the first inning, using a double by right fielder Nick Markakis to take the lead. The Orioles loaded the bases in that rally, and their second run crossed the plate on a hit-by-pitch. Baltimore later got three RBIs from backup catcher Guillermo Quiroz, who started in place of Ramon Hernandez.
"Any time you get a two-out hit and a two-strike hit, it has a way of putting momentum on your side and keeping it there," Trembley said of Quiroz, who had never driven in three runs before. "It's good for him. He works real hard, he takes advantage of his opportunities. He doesn't say too much. I thought he called a good game today, he blocked the ball."
Olson, meanwhile, steadily tamed one of the best teams in baseball. The southpaw faced one batter over the minimum in the first three innings, thanks to a double play. Olson (7-5) gave up one run but stranded three runners in the fourth inning and got another double play in the sixth, forcing the Angels (65-39) to play from behind deep into the game.
Afterward the left-hander said that it helped him immensely to have some early run support.
"Whenever you get support like that, I think it adds a little bit of extra confidence for the whole team," Olson said. "It's definitely a momentum carrier, especially toward the end of the game. The biggest thing, I think, is attacking the zone [and] making sure you don't walk guys or give free passes. That produces big innings for the other club."
Olson entered Sunday's action with just one win in his last eight starts, and he'd been the recipient of multiple pep talks from the coaching staff. And he didn't just get himself back on track, he may have done the same for the entire rotation. The Orioles had gone eight straight games without having their starter complete six innings, and they'd gone 2-6 over that span.
"I guess you could say I put [together] a pretty bad streak there," Olson said. "I was really focusing the last few days on slowing the game down and remembering what got me here. Just keeping it simple. Especially for me, the kind of pitcher I am, I just have to make my pitches. You can't afford to miss your spots, and if you do, you're going to get in trouble."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.