The searing line drives turned into meekly hit fly balls. The Orioles' frenetic activity on the base paths at the Philadelphia Phillies' expense in Wednesday's doubleheader morphed into a series of slow walks back to the dugout.
A day after scoring 19 runs and collecting 31 hits in a sweep of the Phillies, the Orioles were shut down by right-hander Ryan Madson, who gave up just five hits in 8 2/3 innings in the Phillies' 4-0 win before 31,038 last night at Camden Yards.
Unable to secure their first series sweep in a month and a half, the Orioles ( 37-43) finished the homestand 5-4 and headed to Atlanta late last night for a three-game series with the struggling Braves. The Phillies (36-42) broke a seven-game losing streak and won for just the fourth time in 19 games.
"I think your goal is to play .500 on the road and win at home." said Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts, who had one of the Orioles' five hits. "You have to be able to do both. That's what we're going to try to do."
Rodrigo Lopez battled through 7 2/3 innings, giving up nine hits and four runs. He rebounded from a rocky first inning, when he surrendered a two-run homer to David Dellucci, to pitch five consecutive scoreless innings. But with the Orioles being shut down by Madson, Lopez allowed an RBI groundout to Abraham Nunez in the seventh and an RBI double to Bobby Abreu in the eighth.
Lopez, who again was paired with catcher Javy Lopez, fell to 5-9, suffering only his second loss in the past seven outings. He took solace in keeping the Orioles in the game, but he needed to do much more last night because of how easily Madson worked his way through the Orioles" lineup.
"[Lopez] pitched really well after the first two hitters, and I thought he changed speeds real well." Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo said. "He actually pitched good enough to win."
Consistently spotting his low-to-mid 90-mph fastball while keeping the Orioles off balance with a big-breaking curveball, Madson retired 15 of 16 before Miguel Tejada's two-out single in the seventh inning. The Orioles, who had 13 extra-base hits in the two games Wednesday, had none last night. In fact, just two Orioles reached second base.
Madson, who hadn't pitched more than 7 2/3 innings in his 12 other starts this season, struck out seven before leaving the game after walking Brandon Fahey and giving up a single to Melvin Mora.
Philadelphia closer Tom Gordon got Tejada to ground out to third for his 21st save. Madson improved to 8-5.
"He throw nasty." Mora said about Madson. "He mixes the pitches good, throws a good changeup, good breaking pitch, 94 mph all the way to the end, so, what I can say?"
Madson was visibly disappointed when he was pulled by manager Charlie Manuel, one out shy of the complete game. He declined comment through a Phillies team official after the game, saying that he won't speak to the media until he strings together two good starts.
The right-hander was an unlikely pitcher to slow down the Orioles, considering that he entered the game with a 6.40 ERA and was coming off a start in Boston where he lasted just 1 2/3 innings and gave up six earned runs.
"It was just his day." Fahey said. "It doesn't surprise you. He's a major league pitcher. He has good stuff and it was hard to hit. He changed his speeds and used both sides of the plate."
Lopez was coming off an outing in which he held the Washington Nationals to one run over seven innings. But the Phillies jumped on him in the first as former Oriole Dellucci followed a leadoff walk by Jimmy Rollins with a two-run homer onto the flag court in right field. The homer was Dellucci's fifth of the season.
"I was trying to throw him a strike." Lopez said. "I didn't want to run too much in on him, and he just hit it out of the ball park. Basically, I threw it where I wanted."
Perlozzo stayed mostly with his hot hands after Wednesday's offensive outburst, keeping Nick Markakis and Jeff Conine in the lineup. Markakis was 5-for-7 in the doubleheader, Conine 5-for-8.
Perlozzo did give catcher Ramon Hernandez the day off, allowing Rodrigo Lopez to be paired again with Javy Lopez behind the plate. Hernandez caught all 18 innings in the doubleheader because Lopez was sidelined in the nightcap with a sore back. Hernandez was 3-for-8 with two home runs and six RBIs in the doubleheader.
Madson allowed a leadoff single to Roberts in the first, but little else early. Roberts was erased when Fahey hit into a double play.
Conine hit a one-out single in the second, but Corey Patterson followed by hitting into a fielder's choice. Patterson stole second, his American League-leading 30th steal, but he went no further as Lopez fouled out to end the inning.
That was part of a stretch in which Madson retired nine straight Orioles, including striking out the side in the fourth. He got Fahey looking and then Mora and Tejada swinging.
Patterson broke the string with a one-out single in the fifth, but he was thrown out attempting to steal by former Oriole Sal Fasano, who benefited from a pitchout.
Seemingly unaffected by the first-inning home run, Lopez also got on a good roll. He allowed back-to-back, one-out singles in the third before getting Abreu to bounce into a double play.
Roberts turned an unassisted double play to get Lopez out of the fifth.
Abreu ended Lopez's outing with a two-out double in the eighth that scored Philadelphia's final run.
"It's hard when you pitch like that [and] get no run support." the Orioles pitcher said. "I tried to pitch as deep as I could."