Only these Orioles could make blowing a two-run, 12th-inning lead look so routine.
Adam Jones' RBI single, coupled with Torii Hunter's throwing error, gave the Orioles a two-run lead heading into the bottom of the 12th. But Kevin Gregg, with the help of third baseman Josh Bell's shaky defense, imploded, failing to retire any of the five hitters he faced.
"Obviously, I want to finish the game," said Gregg, who have Showalter a long glare as he approached the mound to take the ball. "Obviously, I think I can get out of it. Buck’s got to do what he has to do to try to salvage a win."
Gregg now has blown five saves in 22 opportunities. He has allowed runs in three of his past four outings, and in two of those, he failed to record an out despite facing five hitters or more.Bell, who had a brutal night, going 0-for-4 with three strikeouts to go along with his defensive issues, certainly did his part.
With runners on first and second and no outs, Bell fielded Hank Conger's bunt attempt and made a wild throw to first that Mark Reynolds couldn't handle. That brought in one run and put the tying run on third base. Bell made a nice stab on Peter Bourjos' grounder, but he took too long looking the runner back to first and his throw was too late to get the speedy Bourjos.
"You got to take care of the baseball," Gregg said. "Sacrifice bunt and you throw it away. You have Bourjos running down to first. You have to know about his speed. Obviously, a questionable call at first base. If both of those things are done, you’re looking at a different situation. It’s part of the game. You have to move forward."
Bell did take accountability for his role in the collapse, saying, "Things like that can't happen in those situations."
However, Gregg put the Orioles in that situation. He allowed a two-strike leadoff single to Erick Aybar, a .258 hitter. He then hit rookie Mike Trout with a breaking ball that he said slipped out of his hand.
And with the bases loaded and no outs and the Orioles still up by a run, Gregg issued a five-pitch walk to Alberto Callaspo to bring in the tying run.
"Kevin obviously wasn’t carrying the command that he’s capable of and will again," Showalter said.
As a result, the Orioles, who came back from a two-run eighth-inning deficit and were in a position to win just their third game in 71 tries this season when trailing after seven innings, have lost four straight games.
They've lost seven consecutive one-run games. They are a season-worst 29 games under .500 at 47-76. They have eight losing streaks of four games or more, and they’ve assured themselves of a 15th straight winless series.
They haven’t won a series since taking two of three from the Cincinnati Reds June 24-26. They haven’t won a road series since taking two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field May 13-15. Now, they’re left trying to avoid a three-game sweep by the Angels.
“It just sucks,” said Orioles starter Tommy Hunter, who allowed six earned runs in 6 1/3 innings and needed just two innings to squander a 3-0 lead created by the Orioles’ three-run second inning off Angels right-hander Joel Pineiro. “There’s no other word you can really put to it. When your team goes out and they fight for you, it’s tough to be on the [losing end]. You look back at the first inning, the second inning, the third inning, what differences could have been made to where it doesn’t even go to extra innings. And like I said, it all starts with your starter.”