It wasn't the fact that another early lead quickly was turned into a deficit or his offense again failed to build on a hot start, though it easily could have been either of those that drew Orioles manager Dave Trembley's ire in the seventh inning on Tuesday.
Trembley was incensed by a balk called on reliever Jamie Walker that wiped away the pickoff of Los Angeles Angels designated hitter Maicer Izturis, and he certainly took the time to let plate umpire Angel Hernandez know how he felt in an animated chest-to-chest conversation.
Perhaps his first ejection of the 2009 season will serve as motivation down the road, but it couldn't stop the Orioles' fall and a 7-5 loss to the Angels before an announced 11,857 at Camden Yards.
It was the Orioles' 10th loss in their past 13 games, and it lowered their record to 9-12 overall and 3-5 on this homestand. They'll close out the nine-game homestand Wednesday afternoon against the Angels (8-11).
The Orioles led 4-2 after three innings but were mostly shut down the rest of the way by left-handed starter Joe Saunders and three Angels relievers. Saunders allowed four runs (two earned) on 10 hits and a walk over six innings. Adam Jones hit a solo homer in the ninth to get the Orioles within two runs, but closer Brian Fuentes retired Nick Markakis, Aubrey Huff and Melvin Mora, who had three hits in his return to the lineup.
Adam Eaton got the loss, allowing five earned runs on six hits and four walks over six innings.
The Orioles got an immediate boost from the return of third baseman Mora. Mora, who had been on the disabled list since April 15 because of a strained left hamstring, was initially scheduled to begin a rehabilitation assignment Tuesday at Triple-A Norfolk. However, he called manager Dave Trembley on Tuesday morning and told him he was ready to go.
And he looked it in his first at-bat. Saunders retired the first two Orioles he faced on three pitches before Markakis kept the bottom of the first inning alive and extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a single to left. Huff followed with a single, and then Mora blooped an RBI single into right field.
Mora then helped the Orioles and Eaton keep the 1-0 lead, making a diving stop of Howie Kendrick's ground ball and throwing him out to end the top of the second inning and strand Mike Napoli on second base.
However, Eaton, who was coming off a strong performance in which he allowed just two earned runs in 7 1/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox, got himself in trouble in the third inning after issuing a two-out walk to Angels leadoff man Chone Figgins. Figgins stole second and then scored on Izturis' double, which Markakis turned into a triple with a bobble in right field. Bobby Abreu then connected for an RBI double to give the Angels a 2-1 lead.
The Orioles answered with three runs in the bottom of the inning, with Mora again getting a clutch hit. Back-to-back singles by Jones and Markakis and an error on Angels shortstop Erick Aybar loaded the bases with one out. Mora then dropped a single into center field to score one run and Ty Wigginton followed with a single to right to give the Orioles a 3-2 lead. Lou Montanez made it 4-2 with a sacrifice fly to center field.
The two-run lead didn't even last even half an inning. Kendrick cracked a game-tying two-run homer in the fourth, and then Torii Hunter gave the Angels a 5-4 lead with an RBI groundout in the fifth.
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