O's 'pen falls in finale vs. Tribe

O's 'pen falls in finale vs. Tribe

BALTIMORE -- Suddenly, Steve Trachsel is starting to look a lot like Kris Benson circa 2006. Trachsel worked six innings of one-run ball Monday and still wound up with a no-decision in his team's 10-1 loss to Cleveland. Baltimore's bullpen allowed nine runs -- including a grand slam in the eighth inning -- to turn a well-pitched game into a rout.

"Those guys have been solid all year," Trachsel said. "The way it ended up, it's just probably easier to forget about it. We'll come back tomorrow and hopefully we'll break out and give those guys down there a rest."

Trachsel has worked at least six innings and allowed three earned runs or fewer four times, but he has three no-decisions and a loss to show for it. Benson, whom Trachsel replaced in the rotation, lost three one-run games and four two-run decisions last year. He worked into the seventh inning and allowed two earned runs or fewer 12 times.

Trachsel rarely worked into trouble Monday, and Grady Sizemore's run-scoring single in the third inning was the only damage he'd allow. Trachsel stranded runners in the fourth and fifth innings and got help from his defense in the sixth, when right fielder Nick Markakis erased a runner at the plate with a perfect throw on an attempted sacrifice fly.

"We pitched well early and both teams made a lot of great defensive plays," Trachsel said, summing up the day's action. "There were just a couple of balls at the end that were hit very well. They have a great lineup. You do what you can to contain them for as long as you can and hope for us to break out."

"He got a little tired," said Baltimore manager Sam Perlozzo. "We pushed last game a little bit. ... He's been in a couple games where they're tight, and it takes a lot out of a guy when you're going hard at it like he does. There's no comfortable lead out there for him. It's understandable. He did a heck of a job."

Trachsel went seven innings and took the loss in his last start -- a 3-2 decision against Detroit. His other two close calls were both no-decisions. The right-hander worked into the seventh and allowed three earned runs in his season debut against New York, and in his next start, he allowed one run in seven innings against Kansas City.

"That's not what I can worry about," Trachsel said of the hard luck trend in his first seven starts. "I can only worry about what I am doing. I'm happy with the way I threw the ball, just not happy with the results."

Much to Trachsel's chagrin, Cleveland starter Fausto Carmona matched him all the way. Carmona threw seven innings and allowed just one unearned run, reprising last week's dominant performance against the Orioles. Carmona (3-1) worked into the ninth inning of his last start and got Baltimore to ground out 18 times at Jacobs Field.

This time, it was 14 groundouts in seven innings, but that wasn't the only indicator of Carmona's dominance. Four of Baltimore's seven hits never left the infield -- and none of those four were well hit. The Orioles (14-18) only had one extra-base hit against Carmona, and that was a two-out triple with the bases empty in the seventh.

"He's obviously been throwing pretty well against us. His fastball moves around pretty good," Perlozzo said of Carmona's performance. "He keeps it out of the center of the plate and sinks it. [He] gets a lot of groundball outs and throws strike one a lot. He makes it tough on us. He didn't put the ball in the center of the plate very often."

"He had great stuff in Cleveland, and as a young guy, you think, 'OK, he just had great stuff that day.' Today, he came out and did the same exact thing," added Aubrey Huff. "I don't care what team you are. If he's throwing balls like that -- keeping it down with that much sink [and] throwing 94 -- I don't know many teams that can handle that."

Baltimore went to the bullpen in the seventh, and Cleveland (19-10) got four hits and two walks to change the game. Chad Bradford (0-1) left with one out and two men on, and John Parrish allowed a go-ahead double before walking the next two batters -- one of which forced in a run. Finally, Trot Nixon singled to score another run.

The Indians put things out of reach in the eighth inning, when Travis Hafner belted a grand slam off left-handed reliever Jamie Walker. Baltimore and Cleveland settled for a four-game series split, and the O's have lost two straight games. They'll pick up their season Tuesday with the opener of a three-game series against Tampa Bay.

"I don't think it was a fluke that we started out well," Perlozzo said of his team, which has 11 losses in its last 14 games. "We had two bad games that sort of snowballed on us. ... Now what we have to do is get it back together, keep the attitude up. It's a long season. These guys aren't going to get down right now."

"It's been a frustrating run the last few weeks, but that's baseball," Huff said. "It's ups and downs. Hopefully we can collect it as a team and get out of it pretty soon, because it's not really that fun right now playing mediocre."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.