Carroll County Times

Cruz homers not enough as Birds fall to Brewers

MILWAUKEE - Nelson Cruz has 12 home runs in May, his most in any month. He hit two more on Wednesday night, but it wasn't enough.

After two excruciating games that both went 10 innings and ended with identical 7-6 scores, the Baltimore Orioles lost in regulation 8-3 to the Milwaukee Brewers before 28,280 at Miller Park.

The Orioles (26-25) dropped two of three to the Brewers (32-22).

Bud Norris got off to a rocky start in the first. With one out, he walked Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy. Carlos Gomez's single to right field scored Braun with the first run.

Cruz powered a home run to right field in the top of the second off Yovani Gallardo. It was Cruz's major league leading 18th, and tied the score at 1.

Norris (3-5) walked Khris Davis to lead off the second. Lyle Overbay sent Davis to third on a double. With two outs, Braun punched a double over first base to score Davis and Overbay, and Milwaukee had a 3-1 lead.

Gallardo, who won Tuesday night's game, the first time a pitcher had a game-winning pinch hit in more than 11 years, allowed the Cruz home run and two walks in the first three innings.

He retired the first two batters of the fourth. Cruz, J.J. Hardy and Nick Hundley walked to load the bases. Jonathan Schoop grounded to second to end the fourth.

Norris hit Gomez to begin the fourth, the seventh batter he's hit this season, tying him for the American League lead. Gomez stole second, moved to third on Mark Reynolds' fly to center and scored on Scooter Gennett's fly to left for a 4-1 lead.

Making it through six innings, Norris allowed four runs on five hits, walking three, striking out one and hitting a batter.

With two outs in the sixth, Cruz hit his second home run of the year, giving him 19, and Baltimore cut the lead to 4-2.

The Orioles scored a run in the seventh when Nick Markakis doubled with two outs and scored on Manny Machado's single.

Gallardo (3-3) pitched 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on four hits, walking five and striking out five.

Milwaukee added four runs in the eighth on Rickie Weeks' RBI single and Davis' three-run home run. Davis hit homers in each of the three games.

SCHEDULING SANTANA: The Orioles and Johan Santana are discussing a plan that would allow him to extend his opt-out agreement. Santana can opt out on Sunday, and his agent and the team are discussing an extension.

Manager Buck Showalter said that the current plan for Santana is to pitch another extended spring game on Monday, a game with Norfolk on June 8 and another with Bowie on June 13.

If all goes well, Santana could join Baltimore by mid-June.

"If these three options work out, he'd be an option for us. It's one thing being able to get through it, it's another thing have people evaluate whether it will work up here," Showalter said.

Santana is looked upon as a starter rather than as a reliever.

"Knowing ... what he has had done, and what the problems have been, it just doesn't seem to be anything else," Showalter said

SAMARDZIJA WHO? : After a day of rumors about Chicago Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija, Showalter said that he had not discussed him with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette.

ODDS AND ENDS: The Orioles traded Norfolk catcher Johnny Monell to the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations. ... Baltimore outrighted RHP Evan Meek to Norfolk. Meek can reject the assignment. ... Outfielder Francisco Peguero will be examined by doctors in Baltimore on Thursday. After nearly completing a rehab assignment in Norfolk, Peguero, who had tendinitis in his right wrist, has a hamstring injury. ... Nelson Cruz was removed from Tuesday's game after eight innings because of calf tightness. He was cleared to play Wednesday.