08/10/08 8:22 PM ET
Shaky pitching prevents O's sweep
Waters allows six over four innings, bullpen struggles more
By Amanda Comak / MLB.com
In contrast to his debut, when he allowed the Angels just one hit over eight shutout innings, the left-hander allowed six runs over four innings against the Rangers on Sunday. But it was after Waters left, with the game tied at 6, that the real damage was done.
The Rangers scored six in the fifth inning off relievers Randor Bierd and Lance Cormier. It was simply too much for the Orioles to overcome, as they dropped the series finale, 15-7.
"Waters was a different pitcher today," manager Dave Trembley said. "[His] location was up. The first time he pitched, in Anaheim, I dare say there probably weren't four or five pitches that were above the belt. Today, there probably weren't four or five pitches that were below the knees. His location wasn't good."
Trembley attributed Bierd's fifth-inning problems to the same thing -- poor location -- leading to his four-hit, five-run performance without recording an out. Bierd raised his ERA by over two runs, from 1.29 to 3.43.
It marked the 11th time this season that Baltimore was unable to close out a sweep in a series finale.
The game didn't start off well for the Orioles when the first batter of the game, Ian Kinsler, hit a popup that shortstop Alex Cintron lost in the sun. Waters walked the next batter and then left a fastball up to American League RBI leader Josh Hamilton, who deposited it over the center-field wall.
"I just didn't feel comfortable with [my location] from the 'pen, and it just carried over," Waters said. "I didn't let my hand get up to where I could locate it.
"When the ball dropped [in the first], I did get a little rattled. But I tried to hold my composure and go after them."
It was the first miscue on a long day for Cintron, who went 0-for-4 at the plate and had a tough time battling the sun in the field.
"I don't want to be in [center fielder] Jay Payton's situation and Cintron's at the beginning," third baseman Melvin Mora said. "I just hoped they didn't hit it to me that high and in the sun. It's not easy. It's not an excuse for not catching the ball, but you have to fight the sun."
Trembley added: "Whether that ball was caught or not, the next guy got on, and the ball to Hamilton was in a location that you're going to pay for it."
The Orioles looked to have dug themselves out of the early hole, scoring two in the first, one in the second, two in the third and one more in the fourth, but it wouldn't be enough to overcome the Texas fifth.
Kinsler added a two-run jack in the fourth, part of a 5-for-6 afternoon, and Marlon Byrd tacked on a three-run homer off closer George Sherrill in the ninth.
"They were hitting .280 as a club; they're hitting well over that now," Trembley said. "The first five guys in their lineup today were very good, and we didn't get guys out in the bottom of the lineup, which allowed those guys at the top to come up and get on base. They score an awful lot of runs, and if you make a mistake, they don't foul it off -- they hit it."
Baltimore's offense did, however, reach a few milestones, as Mora picked up four RBIs -- two via the 150th home run of his career, a two-run shot to center in the first.
"It's a pretty good feeling," Mora said with a smile. "I didn't know until now.
"Nobody in the beginning gave a penny for us hitting for power. They were always talking about getting a 40-home run power hitter. You have six or seven guys hitting 20 homers, you just need to concentrate on pitching, because you'll have the run support you need."
And in the third inning, designated hitter Aubrey Huff took a 3-1 pitch from Rangers starter Matt Harrison into the right-field seats for a two-run homer. His 23rd long ball of the season extended his hitting streak to 18 games, a career high for Huff and season high for the Orioles.
Second baseman Brian Roberts pushed his hitting streak to 12 games. Roberts tied a career high with four hits, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and a walk.
Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.