Carroll County Times

Orioles drop fourth in a row

BALTIMORE - No walk-off frustration Friday night, but frustration nonetheless for the Baltimore Orioles.
They returned home after losing three in a row to Arizona, all of which came after watching the opponent celebrate on its own field. Colorado, another NL West foe, didn't help alleviate the problem.
Wei-Yin Chen tried to end Baltimore's slide, but the Rockies used some timely big hits against the left-hander and topped the Orioles 6-3 in front of 31,438 at Camden Yards.
"It has kind of been up and down," said manager Buck Showalter. "We all search for ... that everybody's swinging the bat well every night. That's why we work and that's why they work. We've got some guys with a really good track record. We'll get back there at some point. And we hope it's [Saturday]. Every day is an opportunity for that to start."
Baltimore (65-56) lost for the fifth time in six games and gave up four home runs to the Rockies. Chen was trying to win for the first time since July 30, but another late long ball did him in.
The last time Chen (6-6) pitched at home, Aug. 4, he faced Seattle and held a 2-1 lead in the seventh inning before allowing a two-out, two-run home run in a 3-2 loss.
On Friday, the Orioles led 2-0 after four innings and Chen seemed to be cruising. Until the Rockies (58-65) tied the game in the sixth and went ahead for good in the seventh.
Chen's outing came apart when he walked Michael Cuddyer to lead off the inning. Wilin Rosario waited for Chen's next pitch and drilled it off the standing-room fence above the scoreboard in right field for a two-run shot, and the Rockies led 4-2.
Of Chen's 34 runs allowed this season, 15 have come in the sixth and seventh innings combined. Meanwhile, the Orioles average 2.93 runs per start when Chen pitches.
"It's always frustrating not to give the starter runs," said center fielder Adam Jones. "Chen goes out there and gives us a great chance every time. It's unfortunate we're not able to score more runs for him, but that's part of the game sometimes."
Charlie Blackmon led off the eighth with a solo shot onto Eutaw Street off Orioles reliever Francisco Rodriguez, who left the game one batter later with a right groin strain. Jim Johnson, maligned of late for his three consecutive blown saves, came on in the ninth and gave up a one-out solo blast to Todd Helton.
Matt Wieters smashed a solo home run to center in the ninth, but it wasn't enough for the Orioles.
"I don't know," said left fielder Nate McLouth, who homered in the first inning. "It's not like we get complacent - 'Oh, we've got a big enough lead.' It's just the way it's worked out a couple games in the past week."
Rockies left fielder Charlie Culberson's first career home run led off the sixth inning and tied the score at 2-2. Chen had Culberson behind in the count, but the rookie sent out over the wall in left field on a 1-2 pitch.
Colorado got on the board in the fifth after Chen had retired 10 in a row. Rosario led off with a double, moved to third on a wild pitch, and scored on Nolan Arenado's one-out single to right field.
Chen induced a double play to end the inning, but the Rockies succeeded in elevating his pitch count.
"I actually don't care how many hits I give up," Chen said through his interpreter. "The only thing I want to do is ... control the game, especially in the late innings. And today I didn't do my job, but this is the thing I need to learn."
Jones laced a single to right field that scored Brian Roberts and gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead in the second inning. Jones ended a 0-for-15 skid with the RBI hit, and Baltimore had the bases loaded with one out, but tallied just the one run.
A fourth straight loss bothered the fans, and many headed for the exits a few innings early. But the Orioles and their manager don't seem worried with more than 40 games to go in the season.
"We don't care what people outside this clubhouse think," Jones said. "There's 25 players, eight coaches, some other staff members, they're the only opinions we really care about. We've got to play better baseball. You can hear it tonight in the stadium: the fans were unhappy about our performance.
"Hey, we go out there and grind, things happen. We've got to go out there and play better. Not just better, but smarter. Keep grinding."