BALTIMORE - Crisp would be the wrong word used to describe the Baltimore Orioles' performance Wednesday afternoon.
The ballclub began its eight-game homestand with a brief set against San Diego, a sub-.500 team battling to stay out of last place in the AL West standings. The Padres left town with a pair of wins, though, as the Orioles fell 8-4 in front of 32,418 at Camden Yards and suffered their first sweep of the season.
Baltimore dropped both games and bumbled its way to a fourth loss in six games, with ineffective starting pitching and careless defense at the forefront. The Orioles (23-17) allowed a season-high 17 hits and committed gaffes in the field that led to runs for the Padres, who improved to 18-21 and won for the 12th time in 18 games.
Freddy Garcia began his Orioles career with six no-hit innings May 4 in Anaheim, but the veteran right-hander hasn't been too hitless since then. He lasted a mere 3 2-3 innings Wednesday and gave up seven hits and four runs while throwing 75 pitches.
"Not quite as crisp," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said about Garcia, who fell to 0-2 with a 5.51 ERA.
"But he wasn't the only one. We just didn't pitch well today. They had some good fortune, too, but they hit a lot of balls hard too. They came in here and swung the bats well."
Everth Cabrera went 4 for 5 and reached base five times as San Diego's lead-off man, but the Padres' bottom of the order battered Garcia & Co. on this day. The 6-7-8-9 hitters combined for eight hits, two doubles, two home runs and five RBIs.
Center fielder and No. 8 hitter Alexi Amarista came into Wednesday's game batting .233. He finished the day with a two-run homer, two doubles and three runs.
"You have to do a better job with those 7-8-9 hitters," said Garcia, who dropped to 24-11 in career interleague starts. "Have to pitch better."
Amarista's homer came in the seventh off reliever Tommy Hunter and gave San Diego a 7-2 lead. Hunter committed a throwing error one batter before the blast.
Hunter looked to be out of a jam in the fifth when he got Carlos Quentin to pop up with runners on first and third and two outs, but second baseman Ryan Flaherty lost the ball in the sky out in shallow right field and it fell in for an RBI single to make it 5-2.
San Diego scored twice in the second inning and added two more in the fourth behind a solo homer from Kyle Blanks and an RBI single from Will Venable. Garcia departed one batter before Venable greeted reliever T.J. McFarland with a single to right field.
"They were patient on the right guys and aggressive on the other ones," Showalter said. "You tip your hat to them, but we've got to pitch better. Certainly a hiccup, pitching-wise, today. But I've been proud of it for the most part."
Jason Marquis (5-2) was good enough to get the win for San Diego - Marquis scattered seven hits and allowed two runs in five innings.
J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters hit solo home runs for the Orioles, and Hardy extended his hitting streak to 11 games. That tied him with Manny Machado for the team's longest streak of the season, but Machado once again fueled the offense.
He tied a career high with four hits and hit three doubles, which also tied him with Boston's Mike Napoli for the league lead (17).
Machado seems to be making a case for an All-Star selection at third base with all of 90 career games at the position to date.
"Personally, I'm real satisfied with what I'm doing," he said. "A little more adjustments to make. We're going to keep it going, and hopefully come back Friday and win some more games."
NOTE: Showalter said Miguel Gonzalez will pitch Friday either at a minor-league affiliate or in a simulated game. He is still a candidate to pitch for the Orioles on Tuesday.