BALTIMORE - Jake Arrieta might not be long for the Baltimore Orioles' starting rotation.
The 26-year-old went after his second consecutive victory and tried to get something going after an inconsistent start to the season. For a few innings Sunday afternoon, it looked like Arrieta was on his way.
But the right-hander reverted to his troublesome self, and Los Angeles avoided a three-game sweep by beating Baltimore 7-4 in front of 41,265 at Camden Yards.
Arrieta didn't make it out of the fifth inning and got tagged with his first loss of the year, a deceptive stat of sorts. He's 1-1 through four outings so far with spurts of dominance mixed in with maddening stretches. Arrieta retired the first six batters Sunday and went 1-2-3 in the fourth, collecting four strikeouts along the way.
His trouble spots, however, were too many to overcome.
The Dodgers (8-10) chased Arrieta in the fifth and scored four runs to take the lead. Mark Ellis rapped a two-run single that ended's Arrieta's day, Adrian Gonzalez followed with an RBI double, and Matt Kemp added an RBI single to put Los Angeles on top 5-4. Arrieta was done after four innings and four batters, and he allowed five earned runs on five walks but only two hits.
"I really feel like the Dodgers didn't beat us today. I beat us," Arrieta said. "I put us in a tough situation. Not giving up many hits at all, just making their job a lot easier by putting them on base for free. It's unacceptable."
It wasn't just Sunday's loss that has the Orioles (10-8) in a funk when Arrieta pitches.
He's allowed 15 hits, 16 walks and 14 earned runs in 19 innings, which results in a whopping 6.63 ERA. Arrieta has 13 strikeouts and 10 walks over his last two starts.
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said he had some thoughts on a possible roster move but would wait to talk with some front office members before making a decision.
Showalter defended Arrieta's performance, to a degree.
"You have to have emotions to play this game," Showalter said. "You have to care, you have to want to, but to be able to funnel those under control sometimes. It's there. It's up to him and us to get it out of him."
Baltimore led 3-0 after the first inning and 4-1 after three thanks to Adam Jones' solo homer to left-center. J.J. Hardy had a two-run single in the first off Stephen Fife, who was making an emergency start for the Dodgers. Fife replaced Chad Billingsley when Los Angeles placed Billingsley on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right elbow.
Fife wasn't all that effective, either, going 4 2-3 innings and giving up four runs on seven hits. But the Dodgers used six pitchers to get the win, with J.P. Howell (1-0) earning it in relief and Brandon League notching his fifth save.
The Orioles had 10 hits, with Jones and Chris Davis going a combined 5 for 7 with a double and a homer. Jones has reached base in all but one game this season while Davis is 9 for 15 in his last four games (7 for 12 in the series).
Baltimore is 4-2 on its current nine-game homestand, but Sunday's setback seemed disappointing to the Orioles' starting pitcher trying to keep his status intact.
"It's not something that I've ever expected of myself," Arrieta said. "And it's just bad. It's bad. If you watch the first couple innings, there's no reason why I'm not pitching in the eighth today. That's frustrating. Using the bullpen too much is frustrating.
"I don't want to beat myself up too much about it, but I will today. I've got to clean it up, got to get better."