TORONTO -- The notion that the Orioles were satisfied to win a series on the road against the Toronto Blue Jays was destroyed the second manager Dave Trembley started his post-game interview with reporters.
After a 5-4 loss before an announced 25,365 at Rogers Centre, a visibly annoyed Trembley questioned reliever Matt Albers' pitch selection in the decisive sixth inning, mildly griped about plate umpire Bill Miller's strike zone for Toronto's Roy Halladay and brushed aside questions on Jay Payton's ejection for arguing balls and strikes after the top of the fourth inning.
"I'm not saying [anything] about his ejection," Trembley said. "He's the one who got thrown out. Go ask him why."
Trembley's displeasure likely stemmed from his team's missing an opportunity on a day that it battled Halladay and earned a 4-2 lead in the sixth inning on Luke Scott's two-run home run, his second homer of the game. However, Albers (3-2) allowed three runs in the bottom of the inning, the winning run scoring on Marco Scutaro's sacrifice fly.
Denied the three-game sweep, the Orioles (31-31) fell back to .500 and into last place in the American League East. They have lost nine straight Sunday games and are 1-5 this season in contests that would secure a series sweep of three games or more. Now 4-2 on this road trip, they are off today before beginning a three-game series tomorrow against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
"It hurts a little bit, I'm not going to lie," Albers said. "We should have won this game today."
Given five uneven innings of two-run ball by Radhames Liz, Trembley turned to Albers, who has been one of the Orioles' best pitchers this season in a variety of roles. Albers threw a nasty sinker for a strike to Vernon Wells, the first batter he faced, but his next pitch was belt-high, and the Blue Jay bashed it over the left-field wall, cutting the Orioles' lead to 4-3.
Albers walked Lyle Overbay and then hung a curveball to Rod Barajas, who lined it to left field for a double. The ball bounced away from Scott, enabling Overbay to score the tying run. Brad Wilkerson got Barajas to third with a flyout and then Scutaro hit a sacrifice fly to drive in the go-ahead run.
"I don't know why he's throwing breaking balls, especially with a guy on third and the infield in," Trembley said. "Maybe he just felt like he didn't have his good sinker today."
Halladay got his eighth victory and improved to 17-4 with a 2.84 ERA against the Orioles. It was Scott, who had not faced the former Cy Young Award winner, who did the most damage with a solo homer in the second and the two-run shot in the sixth.
"I just went up there with a simple approach, just trying to hit the ball hard," Scott said.
The Orioles had 10 base runners against Halladay, who wasn't as dominant as usual but was good enough to keep his team in the game long enough for them to score runs.
"He made some big pitches," Trembley said "He gets the benefit of a strike zone that ... [was] somewhat favorable, but you go from there."