BALTIMORE - Even professionals are prone to getting a bit gassed.
The Baltimore Orioles played 39 innings during a three-game sweep at Boston before capping a four-game set against the Texas Rangers with a doubleheader Thursday.
Baltimore and Texas put on a show in the afternoon contest, making all kinds of history in a 6-5 Orioles win.
But that gave way to sloppiness in the nightcap, when the two weary teams combined for five errors in a 7-3 Rangers victory before 19,250 at Camden Yards.
All three of Baltimore's runs in Game 2 were unearned when Texas (21-11) erred three times in the second inning. One error by the Orioles led to a Rangers run in the seventh.
Baltimore infielder Mark Reynolds admitted it might've been a product of a tough week.
"It's a little draining, but I think the tougher part of it is a bunch of roster moves, our bullpen's taxed playing all those extra innings and trying to mix and match parts," he said. "It's not too bad, but we've got to come out and catch the ball and pitch better, and get some timely hits. That's the name of the game."
After winning five of six at New York and Boston, the Orioles (20-12) followed by dropping three of four to Josh Hamilton and the Rangers (21-11).
Baltimore was limited to five hits in each half of the doubleheader, and couldn't create any offense on its own in Game 2. Plus, it turned out to be a rough day for what had been the American League's best bullpen.
Luis Ayala, Jim Johnson and Matt Lindstrom all entered the day with 0.00 ERAs. But Ayala and Johnson combined to allow three runs in Game 1 and Lindstrom surrendered three (two earned) in Game 2.
Lindstrom shrugged off the idea that the relievers are tired after having to pitch so much since Friday, leading to a continuous string of roster moves.
"I still walk in every day and I wonder how position players do it. I really do," Lindstrom said. "Relievers and stuff got to be ready to pitch every day, but it's amazing how much resiliency these guys have.
"I don't think it's taking a toll on us. We are battling hard right now."
Orioles starter Tommy Hunter (2-2) had an acceptable outing in Game 2 after what he called a "whirlwind" week. The right-hander, who had been demoted Monday and called up Thursday to start, permitted four runs on five hits and a walk in six innings. He struck out seven.
Hunter has now allowed nine runs in 10 1-3 innings over his last two starts.
"Tommy made a lot of quality pitches down, which you have to do with that club, and he kept us in that ballgame," Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.
The big blow against Hunter came from an almost expected source, as Hamilton punctuated a remarkable series with a 442-foot two-run homer in the first. It was his sixth homer in four games, 15th of the year and first onto Eutaw Street.
"He hit a baseball. The dude's on fire. What do you want me to say?" Hunter said.
The Orioles took the lead thanks to Texas' defense in the second inning, but the Rangers answered with two in the fifth for a 4-3 lead and three more in the seventh to pad their advantage.
Baltimore salvaged one game in the series by becoming the first AL team to start a game with three straight homers, and combining that with Wei-Yin Chen's 7 2-3 strong innings.
Even though that has the Orioles at 6-4 to start a brutal stretch against the Yankees, Red Sox, Rangers and Tampa Bay Rays, they weren't celebrating after Thursday's split.
"No one's happy about losing," Hunter said. "Hell, we don't play this game to lose. For anybody to be happy about losing a series at any point in the season is definitely in the wrong sport. This is what we do for a living. To come out here and get wins is what we're supposed to do."