The idea was to inject the lineup with the most available offense, but the Bowie Baysox paid for it in the field yesterday.
With the defense shaky, the Baysox lost the decisive finale of a five-game series to the Albany-Colonie Yankees, 4-2, at Memorial Stadium and headed for a weeklong road trip only one game shy of falling into fourth place in the Double-A Eastern League.
The primary victim of the lineup juggling was Brent Miller, normally the first baseman, who was caught out of position on one pivotal play at third and later let a routine ground ball squirt through his legs, accounting for the final Albany run.
"I was trying to get the best offense out there. That's why the guys were playing where they were," Baysox manager Don Buford said. "Brent has taken a lot of ground balls at third."
Buford is forced to use catcher Gregg Zaun as the designated hitter because Zaun's throwing arm is still tender, and outfielder Stanton Cameron is unavailable because of an injured rib cage.
The Baysox (49-43) took a 2-0 lead against Darren Hodges in the fifth inning with singles by Tim Holland and Cesar Devarez, a walk, a wild pitch and T. R. Lewis' sacrifice fly.
With "The Blues Brothers" act inciting a crowd of 8,088, Rick Krivda was rolling along nicely, permitting just one scoring threat through five.
But in the sixth, Krivda walked Richard Barnwell and Robert Eenhoorn with none out.
Jalal Leach then bunted the ball into the air toward third base. Krivda tried to catch it and missed, and Miller also reacted to the ball.
Krivda picked it up and attempted a diving tag of Barnwell at third, but the runner was safe, loading the bases.
Miller never was involved in the play.
"It was a tough one," Miller said. "Unless the ball gets by the pitcher, I'm supposed to stay at home [third]. I just reacted."
Kevin Jordan followed with a bases-clearing triple into the left-field corner that put Albany (47-43) ahead for the first time. It was the first three earned runs the Yankees had scored against Krivda in three meetings.
Left fielder Brad Tyler, normally a second baseman, ran to the wall "trying to cut off the ball before it hit," according to Buford. "If he gets to it, it might only be two runs."
Instead, the ball caromed away and nearly resulted in an inside-the-park grand slam.
In the seventh, reliever Dave Paveloff was saddled with an unearned run on an error by Lewis, a sacrifice, an advancing fly ball and Miller's misplay on Eenhoorn's ground ball.
"I was at third for 21 games last year and this is my third this year," Miller said. "It's different. You use a smaller glove, and the ball seems to get up on you a lot faster."
In their final three innings, the Baysox hit into three double plays, wasting four hits, including Tyler's 14th triple.
The last rally was defused when Kyle Washington rolled a weak grounder to Yankees reliever Richard Batchelor, the league's leader in saves, to start a double play after Zaun had singled.
It was a strange at-bat for Washington, who twice tried to bunt with none out although Bowie trailed by two runs.
Buford said he gave Washington the bunt sign on the first strike because he "wanted him to drag one down the third-base line. Their third baseman can be inaccurate throwing. On the second, when he pushed the ball toward first, that was on his own. I gave him the hit sign."
"I was a little surprised," said Batchelor, who collected his 18th save. "The play caught me off guard. But once I got ahead 0-2 [in the count], I had a lot more room for error. It's pitcher's advantage then."
Hodges said: "We just try to get it to The Counselor [Batchelor]. He's the MVP of our team. It's almost automatic once he gets in there."