Baltimore saw its pitching staff get throttled on Wednesday like few other nights in franchise history, putting together back-to-back outings that resulted in an extreme blowout and a close loss. The Orioles set several negative team records in a 30-3 rout to Texas in the first game of the doubleheader and then played close enough in the nightcap to take a 9-7 loss.
"It's been a long day," said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley, who learned earlier in the day that he'll be back in the same capacity next year. "I'll give the guys credit for playing hard and battling the whole second game after coming off that first game. We had an opportunity to win the second game, but it didn't happen. It seemed like every time we scored, we put up a zero on the board after and we caught them at a bad time. They put some crooked numbers up there after we scored."
Baltimore allowed an eighth-inning rally to spoil its only lead in the series finale, and Texas set an American League record for the most runs scored (39) in a doubleheader. The Rangers set their own franchise record for runs in a doubleheader in the first game alone, and their nine-run outburst in the second game only served to eke out a daily sweep.
"That was a first. I'll be honest with you: I've never seen 30 in a baseball game," said first baseman Kevin Millar. "That's one of those games that [you] have to have a short-term memory. Thank God they don't get two wins for that one game. ... The second game was a tough one to lose, because we battled in that game. It was one of those dogfight days."
The latter game may be more recent, but the opener's events relegated it to a mere footnote in the grand scheme of things. Texas set a league record with 30 runs -- marking the most scored by any Major League team since 1897 -- and forced Baltimore to set dubious team standards in runs allowed, hits allowed (29) and largest margin of defeat (27 runs).
"I'd say whatever we threw, they hit it," said Trembley, summing up the day. "It's that simple. They say hitting is contagious, and that certainly was the case in the first game. I've never seen anything like it."
The Orioles (58-67) actually led 3-0 in the opener, only to see Texas (56-70) score a mind-boggling 30 unanswered runs. Strangely enough, Baltimore's pitchers set a new season-high for runs allowed in an inning twice in that game. The Rangers scored nine runs in one inning and 10 in another, easily besting the previous high of six.
"You're just waiting for the game to get over. You're trying to get an out," said Millar. "It was a long day, obviously. It was a record-breaker. ... But what are you going to do? It was what it was. We came out and battled in the second game and lost."
"That's about as much baseball as I've probably ever played in a day," added left fielder Jay Payton. "All the stars were perfectly aligned for them in that first game. They squared it up -- or didn't square it up -- and were finding paydirt."
Things were a little more subdued in the second game, but Baltimore had the same problem in holding Texas down. The Rangers took a three-run lead in the second inning, thanks to a one-run single by Nelson Cruz and a two-run double by Travis Metcalf. Metcalf -- who hit a grand slam in the first game -- finished the day with eight RBIs.
The Orioles fought back several times in the second act. Payton hit a solo home run, and Nick Markakis drilled a two-run shot in the third inning to temporarily make it a 3-3 game. Texas pulled ahead again with two runs in the fourth, but Baltimore steadily fought back and took its first lead in the game's crucial seventh inning.
With Baltimore trailing by one run, Miguel Tejada and Millar walked to start the bottom of the seventh. Both players moved up one base on a deep fly ball, and Texas responded by intentionally walking Melvin Mora. Joaquin Benoit came into the game and struck out J.R. House, but Payton worked the count full and delivered a two-run single to left field.
Texas came back for good with three runs in the eighth inning, turning Jim Hoey into the pitcher of record. But the Orioles still gained a small semblance of a moral victory, if only because they didn't let the first game shatter them.
"I felt like we put ourselves in good position to win," Payton said. "Unfortunately, things just kind of got away from us."
"The second game is more indicative of what this team is all about," said Trembley. "I think everybody's got to give them a lot of credit for getting the first game out of their system and coming out and playing how they did.
"That's a credit to the guys and that's more indicative of what our style of baseball is all about. They played their hearts out and it's been a long day. Obviously, we lost two games -- and that's not acceptable, but it happens. Not much you can do about it now."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.