MILWAUKEE -- As dormant as the Orioles' offense looked for six innings last night, their recent history suggested that a three-run, seventh-inning deficit to the Milwaukee Brewers was a minor hurdle on the way to another comeback victory.
All it took was somebody to get it started. The latest unlikely catalyst was pinch hitter Oscar Salazar, who came off the bench in the seventh to slam a two-run homer off Brewers starter Seth McClung to cut the Orioles' deficit to one.
However, there would be no more late-game heroics as the Orioles fell, 3-2, to the Brewers in front of an announced 42,251 at Miller Park and had their winning streak halted at four games.
"I have a feeling every night that we were going to win," Orioles manager Dave Trembley said.
"It doesn't surprise me, and it shouldn't surprise anybody else. We're going to come back. We're going to make you earn it. If we lose, it's not going to be a gimme."
A night after collecting 13 hits and eight runs, the Orioles managed just four hits off McClung and two relievers who followed. Brian Shouse relieved McClung with a man on and two outs in the seventh and retired Nick Markakis on a come-backer.
Salomon Torres pitched the ninth for his 11th save, retiring Jay Payton after Melvin Mora's pinch-hit, two-out double. Finally, the Orioles ran out of chances.
"We always think we're going to come back all the way to the last out we make," Orioles center fielder Adam Jones said.
The Orioles (38-35), who fell to 17-11 in one-run games, have an opportunity to win the series this afternoon behind rookie left-hander Garrett Olson.
At least their bullpen, which logged seven innings in Friday's series opener, is a little more rested.
Daniel Cabrera (5-3) took the loss and remains winless since May 20, though he did turn in six solid innings. The one pitch that he lamented was a 0-1 fastball that Corey Hart blasted into the seats for a two-run homer in the third.
"That's why we lost that game," Cabrera said. "I missed my spot, and he hit it very well."
Still, Trembley said it was a positive outing for Cabrera, who had given up a total of 16 earned runs in his previous three outings.
Cabrera's delivery and command were more consistent, and he showed much more confidence in his breaking ball, which got him several of his season-high eight strikeouts.
He also kept the Orioles in the game while they were getting nothing going against McClung, who didn't give up a hit until Ramon Hernandez's fifth-inning single.
The Orioles had runners on first and third with no outs in the fifth but couldn't score. After retiring Jones on a swinging bunt, McClung struck out Alex Cintron and Cabrera. Cintron was pinch hitting for the slumping Freddie Bynum.
"In a National League game, especially when you're behind, there's one opportunity that you get to score," Trembley said.
"You either got to use the bullet that you have then or bypass it and hope you get another shot late in the game. I put Cintron up to hit because he's a contact guy and I thought he'd get a run in. It didn't happen."
That loomed large when Salazar connected for a two-run homer with two outs in the seventh.
It was the Orioles' first pinch-hit homer since Jon Knott connected for one April 17, 2007 against the Tampa Bay Rays. It also appeared to be the start of the Orioles' comeback, but it didn't happen.
"It happens sometimes," Markakis said. "You can't win every game. We still have a chance to come out and win the series."