Again, loss by run not so fun for O's

The Baltimore Sun

NEW YORK - Robinson Cano's liner had barely landed in the center-field grass when Jamie Walker took a couple of steps off the mound and spiked his glove to the ground with all his might.

"I've never done that," Walker said. "I apologize for that. I wanted to get his [butt] out. Obviously, I try not to ever show any emotions. I wouldn't have showed any if I got him out. That's my bad throwing the glove, and I'll have to deal with my kids on that one."

Walker's frustration was understandable. On an afternoon when the Orioles got seven shutout innings from Brian Burres, they did nothing offensively and fell, 1-0, to the New York Yankees on Cano's ninth-inning single before an announced 54,662 in the second-to-last regular-season game at Yankee Stadium.

It was the Orioles' fourth straight loss, all by one run, and they've dropped six straight games to New York heading into their nationally televised series finale tonight, when the curtain officially comes down on Yankee Stadium.

It also was the first time the Orioles have been shut out since May 23, and they are scoreless in 16 straight innings. The Orioles (67-86) have lost nine straight one-run games and 19 of the past 21 decided by a run. But that was a little easier to overlook for manager Dave Trembley, whose starters have finally strung together some quality starts.

"I'll take the starting pitching because that's the area we're going to have to improve on, and this is a very good sign for us," Trembley said when asked about all the close losses after a stretch during which the Orioles were getting blown out on a nightly basis.

"We're losing the one-run games and we're not knocking in the runs when we get the opportunities, but that's baseball. I got no problem with that. That stuff happens. But to get well-pitched games at the end of the season and to get your starters to go longer and deeper in the game, that's a real positive for everybody."

Burres, an emergency starter after Daniel Cabrera was jettisoned to the disabled list, pitched seven shutout innings in his first start since Aug. 31, allowing only three hits and walking none. Trembley called it one of the best starts of Burres' career, and it followed two outings in which the left-hander had given up a total of 12 earned runs and 19 hits in 10 innings.

"It was nice to just kind of know where the ball was going," Burres said. "I threw a lot more strikes than I had been, and that was what I really can take away from this and try to build on."

Trembley had a difficult decision to make in the ninth inning after Jim Miller had hit Derek Jeter in the left hand, putting the winning run on first with nobody out and knocking the Yankees' captain out of the game. Pinch hitter Brett Gardner immediately stole second, and Miller walked Bobby Abreu.

Alex Rodriguez hit what should have been a double-play ball, but shortstop Juan Castro's throw pulled first baseman Aubrey Huff off the bag. That left the Yankees with runners on the corners and one out, and the situation prompted Trembley to summon the left-handed Walker, who struck out Jason Giambi for the second out.

Trembley could have brought in Rocky Cherry to face the right-handed Xavier Nady or even allowed Walker to go after Nady. But he chose to stay with his most experienced reliever and had Walker walk Nady intentionally to set up the lefty-lefty matchup with Cano. The second baseman ripped Walker's first pitch up the middle, setting off a wild Yankees celebration.

"If we turned two, we're still playing probably," Walker said. "It's baseball. It's a hell of a game. Burres pitched his butt off. It came down to one pitch, and unfortunately I was on the losing end of it."

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