05/30/10 5:55 PM ET
Early lead vanishes quick in O's loss
Tejada, Guthrie among players looking to pick up slack
By Brittany Ghiroli / MLB.com
Baltimore dropped its eighth consecutive game at Toronto -- falling to 0-6 against the Blue Jays this season -- and has now lost 12 of the past 15 games. The Orioles (15-36) are a Major League-worst 21 games below .500, and the team's play has added fuel to an already hot topic concerning possible player and personnel changes.
"[Manager Dave Trembley] is doing the best he can to get us to play better baseball," Miguel Tejada said. "I know they always blame the manager, but I think we as players, we have to start to pick it up."
The Orioles have scored three runs or fewer in 31 of 51 games, and will enter Tuesday's game in New York with a total of three runs scored in their past 29 innings.
Just how much is the Orioles' offense struggling? They've been outscored by opponents 253-175 this season and had just one extra-base hit -- Cesar Izturis' double on Saturday -- the entire series. The O's hit .207 as a team over the weekend set, allowing the Blue Jays to pitch to a 1.00 ERA with 25 strikeouts against just four walks.
Following a 2-16 start -- the second-worst start in franchise history -- the Orioles showed signs of crawling out of the hole. But their recent stretch, which includes losses in 10 of their past 11 games, has kept Baltimore firmly entrenched.
"You look around and there's 24 other players working hard and five or six coaches working hard, and when you see that you can be optimistic about getting things turned around," said starter Jeremy Guthrie, who had a stretch of four straight quality starts snapped in Sunday's outing.
"A sense of hopelessness? No. There is none of that around here. There is a sense of a desire to get better and hard work. Those are the things we can control and that's what we do each and every day."
In a season of frustrating losses and missed opportunities, Sunday's game -- in front of a crowd of 15,878 -- started reasonably well. The Orioles got on the board right away as Corey Patterson snapped a 10 at-bat hitless streak with a single to open the game. The speedy Patterson advanced to second on a balk call on Blue Jays starter Ricky Romero and, in a rare display of small ball, Patterson advanced to third on Julio Lugo's sacrifice bunt. Nick Markakis delivered the RBI single for the Orioles' third run of the series.
It was the last run the O's would muster off Romero, who tossed a complete game and became the third consecutive Toronto starter to post a quality start. The Orioles have allowed opposing starters to pitch into the sixth inning 36 times in 51 games, 26 of which have lasted into the seventh.
Working with an early one-run lead, it didn't take Guthrie long to tilt the score the wrong way. The right-hander allowed three runs in a 26-pitch first inning, surrendering a pair of doubles sandwiched in between two flyouts for Toronto's first score. He then proceeded to walk Jose Bautista and yielded RBI singles to Alex Gonzalez and Lyle Overbay to give Toronto a three-run first for the second time in two days.
"Jeremy walked three guys early in the game. That's probably the difference in the game there," Trembley said. "And the middle of their lineup being able to hit the home run ball."
Guthrie contained the homer-happy Jays until Overbay took a 3-0 fastball over the right-field fence in the sixth inning, helping Toronto continue to extend on its franchise record for homers set in a month. Orioles pitching allowed that number to swell to 53, surrendering nine homers by six different arms, in the series sweep.
Even Will Ohman wasn't exempt. Ohman, who entered Sunday's game leading the American League with 15 2/3 scoreless innings, saw his streak snapped in a hurry. The lefty allowed a first-pitch homer to Jose Bautista to open the bottom of the eighth and Alex Gonzalez followed with a 3-1 blast to give the Blue Jays a five-run lead. Ohman -- far and away the Orioles' best reliever -- had tossed 25 scoreless appearances prior to Sunday.
"It wasn't something of concern, it wasn't something that was weighing on me by any means," Ohman said of his scoreless streak. "I gave up two far hits, didn't like it."
Nor did the Orioles like leaving Toronto without a 'W,' a trend that is becoming more regularity than an anomaly.
"I think the attitude right now is frustration," Ohman said. "[The Blue Jays] are a good team, I'm not going to take anything away from them. But we are definitely not lost, not hopeless or anything like that. I think it would be silly to think that way."
We have to come in, [Monday] we have an off-day, go to New York, strap it on and go get 'em."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.