Orioles lose behind Guthrie, gaffes
Starter allows four-run fourth; sloppy fielding doesn't help
BALTIMORE -- Jeremy Guthrie survived his signature early jitters on Tuesday, only to crumble under the next impact test. The Orioles' staff ace took a no-hitter into the fourth inning against the Mets, but after a walk and an error on a routine double-play ball, he allowed New York to carve out a four-run lead and a 6-4 win.
Baltimore made three errors in the loss, and the Mets were gifted with three unearned runs. The Orioles challenged in the ninth and left the potential tying run at second base, making the errors seem even more costly.
"Tonight's the kind of game that more times than not, you're going to win," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley as part of his postgame remarks. "But we didn't, because we didn't do enough things right. It's not like it hasn't happened before to anybody in this game. We gave them too many outs, and they capitalized."
Most of Guthrie's problems this season have come early in the game, and Trembley said in the hours before Tuesday's game that he thought his starter would be fine if he made it through the first inning. Guthrie did better than that, retiring nine of the first 10 batters he faced and cruised into the fourth inning of a tie game.
And that's when everything changed. Carlos Beltran came up with no outs and a man on first and hit a ball right to second baseman Brian Roberts, who wasn't able to glove the easy grounder. Both runners were safe, and the Mets (33-29) used four singles and a sacrifice fly from Daniel Murphy to open up a four-run lead.
"It can get frustrating," said Guthrie of the result. "But I'm trying to build and improve. You've got to be able to pitch through those mistakes, and unfortunately, tonight I didn't hold up my end of the deal."
"I don't think he gave in one bit," added Trembley. "I think he kept throwing strikes. His velocity was good. He didn't slow himself down. I thought he kept pitching like he did in the beginning of the game."
Guthrie (4-7) snapped back, but the Mets already had more than enough offense. Mike Pelfrey, who started for the opposition, didn't allow a hit until the fourth inning. Baltimore (27-37) didn't score until the fifth, when Nick Markakis drove a two-run home run -- his first since May 21 -- that cut the road team's lead in half.
New York added two late runs in the seventh inning on a dropped popup by first baseman Aubrey Huff. The bases were loaded with two outs at that point, and Huff muffed a ball by the right-field foul line. That play gave the Mets a secure four-run lead and also closed the book on Guthrie, who has struggled this season.
Guthrie has just two victories in his past 12 starts, and the Orioles are 2-10 in those games. And while the right-hander didn't want to use it as an excuse, he was critical of the way he responded after the Roberts error.
"I think for the way the way the team picks up all of us -- throughout the season and throughout my couple years here -- tonight, I didn't execute pitches following that play and they built off the momentum," said Guthrie. "I didn't do my job sufficiently well, and they got away with four runs and the lead and eventually won."
Pelfrey (5-2) threw three hitless innings for the Mets and stranded the bases loaded in the fifth. The Mets removed him in the sixth, after he'd allowed a two-run home run and walked Luke Scott with two outs.
"He was hitting his spots," said Huff. "He got ahead early, and he didn't make a whole lot of mistakes. He got ahead, strike one, inside corner, and that kind of kept you guessing. We just couldn't make any adjustments."
Baltimore still made things interesting, though, courtesy of two quick singles in the ninth inning. The Mets went to closer Francisco Rodriguez at that point, and the Orioles sandwiched two walks around a strikeout to score their third run. One groundout later, Adam Jones struck out with Roberts and Nolan Reimold in scoring position.
"Jeremy kept us in the game," said Trembley, summarizing the action. "The game could have snowballed totally out of hand. It didn't. We kept it within our grasp of getting back in it. As soon as it got to a save situation, they went to their guy. We made them earn it after we gave them some runs and some extra chances."
Melvin Mora was involved in a strange play in the second inning that prompted an on-field argument. Mora appeared to be hit by a pitch as he swung, and the umpires ruled him out on a strikeout. Mora and Trembley both stayed on the field to discuss the play with home-plate umpire Jeff Kellogg, but order was eventually restored.
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.