A day after the Detroit Tigers bullpen imploded in Game 1, the same cast of relievers was again responsible for an eighth-inning meltdown that sent the Orioles on the road with a 7-6 win and a 2-0 lead in the American League Division Series.
When Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander threw a 94-mph fastball behind designated hitter Nelson Cruz in the fourth inning, it injected life into the sleepy Orioles offense. But it still wasn't enough as the Orioles lost, 7-5, in front of an announced 36,727 at Camden Yards.
Even with the impressive comeback -- the Orioles sent 10 batters to the plate in the ninth -- the bottom line is that the Orioles (1-4) have still lost four straight and two consecutive series after an exhilarating Opening Day victory against the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox.
In the top of the fifth inning of Tuesday night's 84th All-Star Game, Adam Jones led off with a double against the Philadelphia Phillies' Cliff Lee, moved to third on a single by the Minnesota Twins' Joe Mauer and then scored on a fielder's choice ground out by J.J. Hardy.
Scott Feldman was forced to watch from the dugout as the Texas Rangers opened up the game with a six-run sixth inning, charged with a season-high seven runs over 5 1/3 innings as the Orioles dropped a 8-5 decision to Texas in the series opener in front of an announced 24,619 at Camden Yards.
Nobody is going to be harder on Jim Johnson after Sunday night¿s ninth-inning blowup than Jim Johnson, but Orioles fans need to keep it in its proper perspective. Let¿s not forget in the heat of a rare disappointing moment that Johnson might be the individual player most responsible for the club being in the postseason for the first time since 1997.
It could have been one of the coolest scenes in Baltimore baseball history. Players and fans cheering together at Camden Yards as the Los Angeles Angels lost to the Texas Rangers and gave the Orioles their first playoff berth since 1997.