— Juan Samuel reserved his first critical words Saturday night for home plate umpire Mike Everitt as the Orioles' interim manager sprinted from the dugout in the eighth inning and engaged in a heated chest-to-chest conversation after his first career ejection.
Then, as his team returned to the visiting clubhouse and joined him after the completion of a 9-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Samuel let his players know how he felt, admonishing them for their sloppy play.
It was a lecture that they absolutely deserved following a game where they made two errors and several other defensive miscues.
"We didn't play defensively like a big league team today," Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis said. "We made bonehead plays."
The Orioles (24-56) pretty much did nothing right Saturday night in their third straight loss and their 17th in their last 19 contests at Fenway Park. The offense squandered a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the first inning against nemesis Jon Lester, who got Adam Jones to hit into an inning-ending double play. In allowing just one run on five hits over seven innings, Lester improved to 12-0 with a 2.00 ERA in 15 career starts against the Orioles.
Lester's 12 straight wins against the Orioles is the longest current winning streak by any active pitcher against any team. Red Faber is the only other pitcher to begin his career with a double-digit winning streak against the franchise, winning each of his first 12 decisions against the St. Louis Browns from 1914 to 1916.
Lester's counterpart, Jeremy Guthrie, was knocked around for six earned runs in four innings, his shortest start of the season. He allowed three run-scoring doubles in a four-run first inning and then culminated a poor outing by surrendering a two-run homer to Kevin Youkilis in the fifth.
"Just didn't pitch well," said a visibly annoyed Guthrie, who dropped his sixth straight decision to fall to 3-10 and now holds the American League lead in losses.
But it was the defense that particularly irked Samuel, who watched second baseman Julio Lugo fail to turn a double play in the first inning that could have limited or possibly eliminated the damage against Guthrie.
That was hardly the only miscue. A poor throw by Jones allowed J.D. Drew to slide in for a two-run double in the first. In the second, the Orioles fell asleep and didn't throw the ball to second base, permitting the lumbering David Ortiz to get a double. And then reliever Frank Mata made a throwing error in the ninth and then failed to cover first base later in the inning, contributing to an error on Ty Wiggington and three Red Sox runs.
"We definitely need to get better," said Samuel whose team has made 14 errors in the last 12 games and has four straight multi-error games. "Even though last week we won some games, we did not play good defense. We have to pick it up. We need to do all those little things if we're going to compete in this division and win some ball games."
Samuel also was clearly not pleased with Everitt for what he perceived as an inconsistent strike zone for both teams. He yelled at the home plate umpire from the dugout following one call with Mata pitching and Ortiz at the plate in the eighth inning. Samuel was standing at the top step at the time, promoting Everitt to motion for him to get back in the dugout. When Samuel said something back, he was ejected.
"Well I thought some calls could have gone our way and they were not going our way. So we kind of were a little vocal about it, and at the time, it probably was not right but you got to fight for your players," he said. "To start, I did not say a whole lot to get thrown out. Once I got thrown out, you got to go out there and say something, but we just thought some calls were not going our way."
Samuel did get his money's worth screaming at Everitt before second base umpire and angrily gesticulating before crew chief Tim McClelland got in between the two.
Samuel, who is 9-17 since taking over as the interim manager for the fired Dave Trembley, was far calmer later when he was addressing his players, but he still got his point across.
"He played the game one way and when he sees the game not being played the way he played it or the way it should be played, I think he gets frustrated – as he should," said Jones who went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a double play. "I think everybody else on the field gets frustrated.
"When they give you outs, you got to take them. We didn't. It shouldn't happen, but it does. Our offense can go in slumps, but our defense shouldn't. We got to correct it. We are all grown men, we all hold ourselves personally accountable for everything that goes on. We got to go out and play better."
Asked if he has been happy with the team's effort, Samuel said, "Not tonight at all. It's been good, don't get me wrong, but we need to show up every day and play a professional ballgame."