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Juan Samuel has only two more games left in his Orioles' managerial tenure, but he let his players know before Thursday's series opener how important it was for him to go out on a good note. Samuel lived for several years in the Kansas City area and has had one of his daughters at the first two games of the series.

Perhaps, that's why he he took last night's 7-5 loss to the Kansas City Royals very hard. The Orioles have lost 32 games under Samuel and I've seen him this annoyed only once or twice.

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Closer Alfredo Simon was handed a one-run lead in the ninth inning. He got two quick outs and then got two quick strikes on Rick Ankiel. He then walked him, allowed a single to Wilson Betemit and a three-run, game-ending homer to Alex Gordon.

"There's no excuse," said Samuel. ""We have to win the games that we were supposed to win and that was one of those."

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It was Simon's third blown save in 18 chances. He acknowledged that he struggled to grip the baseball on a rainy night at Kauffman Stadium, but as Samuel said, there are no excuses.

""It's a lot of frustration," said Simon. "They played all eight innings and they give me the last inning just to make three outs. But this happened in the game and I hope I do better next time."

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