CLEVELAND -- The Mistake By The Lake once referred to Municipal Stadium, the former home of the Cleveland Indians. But now that the Tribe has moved into Jacobs Field, the phrase can be applied in other handy ways.
Such as the Orioles' decision to play three games against the Indians this week. The Mistake By The Lake. Cleveland completed its first three-game home sweep of the Orioles since 1965 last night, with a 5-2 victory, and many of the 41,839 fans who watched left the area blaring their horns in celebration.
Chad Ogea held the Orioles to two runs in six innings, and Albert Belle hit his second homer in two nights to extend the Orioles' losing streak to four games.
Orioles left fielder Brady Anderson extended his American League record of consecutive stolen bases to 35, when he swiped second base in the seventh inning -- about the only good thing that occurred to the Orioles in three days. A total disaster.
They were outscored, 20-5. Their No. 1 and No. 2 pitchers were beaten. But their basic problem was their failure to hit in the clutch: They had one hit with runners in scoring position in three days.
"Sometimes you look out there," said third baseman Jeff Manto, "and it's like we're waiting for something to happen. Somebody's got to take the bull by the horns."
Orioles manager Phil Regan said, "We really need to concentrate on hitting with runners in scoring position."
They were just plain awful when it counted. Rafael Palmeiro doubled to open the second inning, and never advanced. (Eerie. The same thing had happened on Tuesday; Cal Ripken doubled to start the second, and stayed there).
Manny Alexander doubled with one out in the third, and Curtis Goodwin grounded out and Anderson flied out. The Orioles had runners at first and second and two outs in the fourth, but couldn't get the two-out hit, which has become something of an endangered species for the Orioles.
They had runners at second and third and nobody out in the fifth, and scored just one run. A runner at first and one out in the sixth, after Palmeiro hit his 12th homer, and couldn't get any more. They had first and third and one out in the seventh, and couldn't score. Runner at first and one out in the eighth -- nothing.
In fact, the Orioles had a runner on base in every inning but the first, and failed time after time.
"We had our chances," said Regan.
So did the Indians, but the difference was that they capitalized.
The clash of Orioles starter Scott Klingenbeck vs. the best hitting team in the world seemed like a total mismatch. Rather than placing a line on the outcome, Las Vegas oddsmakers might've been better off setting odds on which inning Klingenbeck would depart. He was making his third major-league start.
Klingenbeck is, at least now, a right-handed Jamie Moyer. Don't expect any no-hitters, don't expect any shutouts. But he will fight. He won't give in to hitters, nibbling on the outside corner and throwing inside when necessary.
He battled the Indians, and survived for 4 2/3 innings, allowing five hits and five walks.
Kenny Lofton hit a check-swing single to start the game, and then Klingenbeck picked him off first. Cleveland had runners at first and second later in the inning, and Klingenbeck made a decent pitch to Eddie Murray, breaking his bat, but Murray dropped a run-scoring single into center.
Manny Ramirez walked to start the second inning, stole second, and Klingenbeck scrapped. He retired Paul Sorrento on a chopper back to the pitcher, and struck out Tony Pena. But, pitching to Lofton, he threw a slider low, and rather than block the ball with his body, catcher Chris Hoiles tried backhanding the pitch -- to no avail. The wild pitch allowed Ramirez to score from third.
The Indians did more damage with two outs in the third. More to the point, Belle did damage, crashing a bases-empty homer to left.
Trailing 3-1 in the fifth, Klingenbeck retired the first two hitters and then became the latest Orioles pitcher to make the mistake of walking a weak hitter, Omar Vizquel, in a situation where you just can't afford a walk. Due up behind Vizquel: Carlos Baerga, Belle and Murray.
Baerga singled, and Klingenbeck pitched around Belle, walking the slugger to load the bases. Regan called on left-handed reliever Mark Lee to make switch-hitter Murray bat right-handed, his weaker side.
Murray struck out, and all things considered, all the runners on base against Klingenbeck, the Orioles weren't in terrible shape.
Palmeiro hit his homer in the sixth, and cut the lead to 3-2. The Indians, however, did what all good teams do. They answered the Orioles' run by scoring two of their own immediately. Lee walked Jim Thome leading off the sixth. Ramirez got ahead on the count 3-0, and on a 3-2 pitch, he slammed a single into center, and Thome raced to third.
Sorrento drove a fly ball to deep left, and Thome trotted home. Ramirez stole second after Pena grounded out, and he scored when Lofton singled to center on a belt-high fastball with the count 0-2.
Another in a series of mistakes, during The Mistake By The Lake.