Hours after learning he would be leading the Orioles again in 2009, Dave Trembley witnessed something he had never seen before on a baseball diamond.
This is a guy who rode minor league buses for 20 years and managed thousands of bush league games. A guy who on Aug. 22, 2007 - the last time his job security was publicly supported by his front office - watched his Orioles allow 30 runs in one game.
And yet the eighth inning of last night's rain-soaked, 11-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics - a defeat that was the Orioles' seventh consecutive and 14th in their past 16 games - made history for Trembley.
"To be honest with you, I've never seen an inning like that," said Trembley, hours after his 2009 option was picked up.
Leading 3-2, the A's scored eight runs in the eighth on one hit - a grand slam by Rajai Davis. An announced 14,984 saw the Orioles' already beleaguered and strike-phobic pitching staff allow six walks and hit a batter in the span of eight plate appearances.
Orioles pitchers issued five bases-loaded walks in the game - the first time that has happened since the Chicago Cubs did it Sept. 2, 2000, against the San Francisco Giants, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The Orioles' four bases-loaded walks in the eighth were the most allowed in an inning since the Los Angeles Dodgers did the same for the Pittsburgh Pirates on May 9, 2004, according to Elias.
Rookie Kam Mickolio faced four batters, walking in three runs.
"I just had a bad game," he said. " First of all, I didn't even give myself or the team a chance to succeed by not throwing any strikes. So right off the bat it was just ugly."
The A's broke a 2-all tie in the sixth when Brian Bass, making his Orioles debut after earlier in the day being traded by the Minnesota Twins for a player to be named, promptly walked A's third baseman Jack Hannahan on four pitches with the bases loaded.
Bass then got out of the mess with a groundout and pop-up.
Two innings later, though, the Orioles' collapse was completed - again started by Hannahan walking on four pitches with the bases loaded - this time courtesy Brian Burres, who threw nine pitches, eight balls, before leaving.
With 10 walks yesterday, Orioles pitchers have issued 56 in their past seven games - including seven or more in six of those contests.
"Those guys aren't trying to throw balls. It's hard," designated hitter Luke Scott said. "You feel for them, but this is a man's game. You learn from the hard times."
For the first five innings it was a pitchers' duel between Chris Waters (2-2) and Oakland left-hander Dallas Braden (5-3), who allowed two runs (one earned) in five innings, before leaving because of illness.
It was the Orioles and their newly minted 2009 manager, though, who felt the queasiest after the eight-run eighth.
"I don't have any answers, to be honest with you. I don't have any magic formula. I don't have any catchphrases," Trembley said. "I don't have any quick fix to it. ... You've got to be able to throw the ball over the plate. It's that simple. Throw it over the plate."