DETROIT -- The pieces just can't seem to fall into place for the Orioles. They got the one thing they needed most -- a quality start from Steve Trachsel -- on Wednesday, but it still didn't help them end their losing ways. Trachsel gave up eight hits over seven innings, and became the first pitcher to go seven innings since he also did the task on April 12, a span of 17 games. Trachsel did his job, but the hitters didn't, and they had could not advance a runner past second base past after the third inning in a 3-2 loss to the Tigers at Comerica Park.
"Losing is losing. It doesn't matter if you go one inning or nine innings, so that's the frustrating part," Trachsel said. "To lose and get swept and to have a plane ride after this, it's just not fun." The loss meant the Orioles were swept by the Tigers in a three-game series for the first time since 1995, and extended their slump to nine losses in the last 10 games. Not to say the Orioles didn't have their chances to give Trachsel more support. They scored their only two runs in the third, after they wasted a perfect opportunity to give a much-needed boost to their struggling offense. The Orioles started the inning with three consecutive hits, including an run-scoring double by Jay Payton. Melvin Mora added a bases-loaded walk with one out, as the Orioles took a 2-1 lead with a good chance to add more. But Kevin Millar hit into an inning-ending double play to end the scoring threat. "Hopefully you get this [slump] out of the way and eventually the ball's gonna turn -- it always does. Teams go through it and right now we're one of them," Millar said. "Somebody needs to find a way to do something." Manager Sam Perlozzo was hoping for the same thing, as he shook up his lineup before the game. It didn't seem to work. Nick Markakis went 0-for-3, batting in the No. 7 spot for just the fifth time in his career. Bottom-of-the-order hitter Ramon Hernandez batted cleanup, and went 0-for-2 with two walks, including an inning-ending double play of his own in the fifth. Hernandez entered Wednesday with 2,695 of his 3,166 at-bats in the sixth spot or lower. "You can shuffle your lineup all you want, someone's still gotta step up somewhere along the line," Perlozzo said. "You can hide guys here, and hide them there and switch them around, but they're still going to have to come up to the plate and get hits." The Orioles never really threatened after the missed opportunity in the third. They had just two singles and two walks the rest of the game. Only one baserunner reached second base in the final six innings. Craig Monroe hit a go-ahead solo homer in the sixth off Trachsel for the last run of the game. Now, the Orioles return home after a 1-5 road trip against the Tigers and the Indians. The only win came in a protested game by the Indians, which was denied on Wednesday by Major League Baseball officials. "We can go 130-0 over the next 130 games, we don't know what's gonna happen," Millar said. "Bottom line, we had a chance in our division to [take advantage of] some teams not playing well. We haven't taken advantage of those opportunities, so we gotta get our minds right, and take this day off to spend some time with our families and clear our heads, and come back Friday." At 12-16, the Orioles are now 5 1/2 games behind the Red Sox, tied for last place, along with the Yankees and Devil Rays. "It's never too early to get it going, and we need to get it going," Perlozzo said. "You can talk about it all you want, but we're losing games in the meantime, and those games count." Not quite panic time yet for Perlozzo, though he said he needs to think of something to jump-start his team. "I'm sure I'll come up with something before Friday," Perlozzo said. "I'll decide then if we need to make any changes or additions to our club, depending on outcomes and things."
Tim Kirby is an associate reporter for MLB.com This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.