A game that started with a hat-throwing tirade by ejected Orioles manager Dave Trembley and questions about the health of starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie ended with an offensive eruption that included the finest game of Luke Scott's career.
Scott, coming through on a promise he made to his manager, drove in a career-high seven runs and finished just a double shy of the cycle in the Orioles' eventful 12-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners before an announced 19,340 on Tuesday at Safeco Field.
"Scott came in [to the clubhouse], and I said, 'Well, get me a couple, would ya?,' " said Trembley, who was ejected before the bottom of the first inning. "And so he hit the triple over [Franklin] Gutierrez's head. Then he came in and said: 'Skip, the next time they throw one over the plate, I'm gonna get you one. I'm gonna hit it out of the ballpark.' I said, 'Do that for me, would ya?' So I'll be damned, he hit one out of the ballpark for me. So I said: 'Wow. Maybe I ought to get thrown out more often.' "
Trailing 3-2 after five innings, the Orioles (37-47) scored four times in the sixth and six more in the seventh to end a three-game losing streak and get just their third victory in their past 10 games. The 12 runs were the same number they totaled in their previous seven games against the Mariners.
A day after being held to just one base runner in Jarrod Washburn's one-hit, complete-game gem, the Orioles finished with 11 hits, eight of them in the sixth and seventh innings.
Scott, who drove in the Orioles' first two runs with a first-inning, bases-loaded single off Erik Bedard, hit a two-run triple in the sixth after Nolan Reimold's bloop single off Chris Jakubauskas had tied the score. He then hit a three-run homer in seventh of Roy Corcoran, his 17th home run of the season. The top of the ninth ended with Scott on the on-deck circle, his quest for the cycle over.
"I was looking forward to the opportunity," Scott said. "It didn't happen, but I'm still thankful for the night. It was a good night for us as a team, a good night for me personally. I was very thankful for it."
Trembley had to witness the offensive outburst either on television in the visiting manager's office at Safeco Field or from the tunnel adjacent to the dugout, where he watched most of the game behind a King County police offer, occasionally offering instruction to his coaching staff.
Trembley blew a gasket when plate umpire Tom Hallion refused to award the Orioles with another run on Gutierrez's throw home, which bounced off the pitcher's mound and into the seats next to the visiting dugout. Two runs had already scored on Scott's bases-loaded single, but Trembley's contention was that Reimold, who was on first when the play began, should have also been awarded home because he was beyond second base when Gutierrez let go of the ball on his throw.
However, Hallion, after consulting with his first base umpire Brian Knight and second base umpire Phil Cuzzi, ruled that Reimold still hadn't reached second by the time the throw was made.
"In that case there, when you place runners, you look at where the runner is at the time when the center fielder releases the ball," Hallion said. "I had two guys -- the first base umpire and the second base umpire -- both said that he had not passed second base yet before the center fielder threw the ball. That's why we gave them two bases, and that's why he didn't score."
Trembley argued the play, but the conversation heated up when the top of the first ended. He eventually charged out of the Orioles' dugout and went chest-to-chest with Hallion, earning his third ejection of the season. He then spiked his hat near Hallion's feet, an action that, coupled with his post-game remarks, will surely get the attention of the commissioner's office.
"I waited until the inning was over and then I asked Reimold when he came in, I said: 'Nolan, give it to me straight. I've had you a long time. Did you touch second base before Gutierrez threw the ball?' " Trembley said. "He said: 'Dave, I won't lie to you. I was past second base.' Then I lost it, and I said: 'Tommy, you lied to me. You guys blew the call, and you lied to me." And I couldn't take it anymore after that. That was a little too much for me. ... Just tell me you made a mistake. Don't lie to me. God forbid. Nolan Reimold's the last guy that's not going to run hard there."
Asked whether he expects to a suspension, Trembley, his face still bright red, said: "Oh, I'm sure I will because I threw my hat and I got it dirty. So what, you know? They made a mistake. People need to be accountable when they make a mistake. All I want is for somebody to say: 'I made a mistake. I didn't get it right.' Don't cover for one another.
"We're big boys here, you know? And the last thing I know, I get all this innuendo about, 'Well, this team doesn't play hard,' 'This team doesn't do that,' 'Trembley's passive,' this and that. People have no idea what I do when the doors are closed here. I don't call anybody out in front of the public. But one thing I will not tolerate is somebody telling me my team doesn't play hard. Or Reimold didn't run hard when I know better. And that kind of set me off a little bit, and so, hey, that's the way it goes."
Trembley initially had other concerns, primarily the health of Guthrie, who didn't look right for the duration of the 2 1/3 innings he pitched. Guthrie, whose velocity was in the mid- to high 80s, felt dizzy and lightheaded, and couldn't grip the baseball. The result was two hits, including Gutierrez's first-inning three-run homer, and four walks while he got just seven outs.
"Warming up, the lightheadedness was really strong to the point where I didn't throw many pitches where I was aiming in the bullpen, and it carried over into the game," Guthrie said. "The first couple of pitches, it felt like something that I could never describe, that I've never been through before. I just was dizzy, lightheaded, had no idea where the baseball was going on any pitch that I threw."
Mark Hendrickson came in and provided 2 2/3 key scoreless innings, keeping the Orioles' deficit at 3-2. With Bedard on a strict pitch count in his first start in a month after a bout with left-shoulder inflammation, the Orioles forced the Mariners to go to their bullpen by the fifth inning. Their long-awaited offensive breakout then came in the sixth and seventh.
"Your role in the bullpen, regardless of any situation you go into, is just to put up zeros," Hendrickson said. "That's definitely what you try to do. That's what I felt like I did for the most part tonight, and our offense came around."