Painful loss for O's

The Baltimore Sun

NEW YORK -- His curveball often bounced in the dirt, not even tempting New York Yankee hitters to offer a swing. When he threw his fastball, it either missed the strike zone or ended up right in the center of it, a welcome sight for a struggling Yankees offense that was desperate for a breakout game.

It was a helpless feeling last night for young Orioles left-hander Garrett Olson, who never gave his team a chance to continue its winning ways. Olson allowed six earned runs in just 2 2/3 innings, both tying career-worst performances, and the Orioles were hammered, 8-0, before an announced 50,682 last night at Yankee Stadium.

"It was their night tonight," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. "It's pitching. You saw what [Daniel] Cabrera did [Tuesday] night, and conversely, on the opposite side, you saw Olson [last night]. I just thought he never commanded his fastball, he never established his fastball. I just looked at his chart, and almost half his pitches were breaking stuff and changeups. I just don't think he established his game plan at all."

It was just the Orioles' third defeat in the past 11 games, and they also might have lost third baseman Melvin Mora for a little while in the process. Mora was spiked in the right hand by a sliding Hideki Matsui in the third inning, leaving the game with a bruise and cut of his right ring finger.

"The good thing is the X-ray was negative," Trembley said. "We'll see how he is tomorrow. If he's able to play, he'll play. If he's not, we'll make an adjustment."

Mora said he couldn't grip the baseball, though he hopes to play tonight when the Orioles (24-21) will attempt to take the three-game series. They'll certainly need a better effort than what they got last night to get it done.

A night after scoring a season-high 12 runs, the Orioles managed only five hits against right-hander Darrell Rasner and were shut out for the second time in eight games. Rasner, who improved to 3-0, struck out six over seven innings, both career highs.

"It was one of those nights where we really couldn't do anything," said Nick Markakis, who had two of the Orioles' six hits.

Olson, meanwhile, allowed 11 base runners, including Alex Rodriguez, who hit a third-inning home run, his second in as many nights.

"I think it goes to show you, one, he's still got room for improvement," Trembley said. "He comes in here and pitches in a tough setting, and obviously, you just had the feeling that those guys were going to rebound from last night and come out ready to go as gangbusters as they did. It just so happened that they took advantage of his mistakes."

Rodriguez was 3-for-4 with two RBIs, the homer and two doubles. He should have had two home runs, but the umpiring crew incorrectly ruled that his sixth-inning drive off Lance Cormier was a double. Replays clearly showed that the ball had gotten over the wall and hit a set of yellow stairs in front of the right bleachers and then bounced back on the field.

By then, the game had long ago turned into a rout. The Yankees, who had scored two runs or fewer in six of their previous seven games and entered the game 4-9 against left-handed pitchers, scored three in the second inning and three more in the third. Olson, who allowed eight hits, was finally removed after Johnny Damon's two-run single in the third gave New York a 6-0 lead.

"It makes you realize that it's a long season," said Olson, who was facing the Yankees for the first time. "You're going to have your bad days where you just don't find your pitches and you're not making the quality pitches you need to make. I'm just going to go back, stick with my routine, keep working to improve and go out for my next one."

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