Baltimore manager Dave Trembley spoke about his philosophy early on Monday, a never-ending faith that precludes the possibility of panic so early in the year. But then he saw his team play a listless finale, a 12-1 loss to the Red Sox that gave the Orioles their first five-game skid and first losing record of the season.
"It can turn in a hurry on both ends, so we're expecting that tomorrow it will turn in a hurry back in our favor," said Trembley. "I think that's the approach you've got to take, but you take nothing for granted."
Things seemed so much brighter before the Orioles left on their road trip, considering that they had taken two series from New York and Tampa Bay. Baltimore (6-7) even got off to a good start by taking the first two games against Texas before turning around and losing the next five games by a combined score of 49-20.
Part of that margin is skewed by a 19-6 loss to the Rangers, and the Red Sox (7-6) did the rest of the damage on Monday. Seven of Boston's starters had at least one hit, and seven more drove in at least one run. Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia combined for seven hits, six runs scored and four RBIs in the rout.
And if you track back to the second inning on Friday -- when the Orioles led 7-0 in the series opener -- the Red Sox outscored Baltimore 30-7 to wrest away momentum and sprint away to a series sweep.
"The way it started, up 7-0 the first day, the last thing that you see coming is four straight losses," said second baseman Brian Roberts. "It's not the end of the world. Everybody is going to lose four games in a row at some point, probably. We need to rebound quick. We can't let it drag on, that's for sure."
"All-around, this was kind of a terrible series," added Baltimore starter Mark Hendrickson. "Obviously, we got off starting the year at home playing pretty well. Coming to Texas and Boston, where those teams tend to play pretty well at home, we just didn't do what we needed to do to win games. Hopefully, we just forget about it, come out tomorrow, a new series, get back at home and get playing well and just get better at every facet."
Hendrickson (1-1) pitched Monday, working five innings and allowing three runs. All of those runs scored in the first two innings, and Hendrickson wound up stranding two runners in scoring position in the third. The southpaw went on to pitch a perfect fourth inning and escape a leadoff double in the fifth to keep the game close.
"It was one of those things where the wind was really picking up," said Hendrickson. "When I was out in the bullpen, it seemed to die down, but I know in particular, watching [David Ortiz] in the first inning, it really blew hard to the left-field line. I just kind of changed my game plan and said, 'Hey, hit it as hard as you want to right and center, because it wasn't going anywhere.' I made some adjustments. It probably was a tough day to hit."
It may have been a tough day to hit, but it also appeared to be a tough day to field. Right fielder Nick Markakis, normally one of Baltimore's best defensive players, made a three-base error. Shortstop Cesar Izturis and first baseman Ty Wigginton both let catchable balls drop to feed into Boston's one-sided win.
"We've had some breakdowns," said Roberts. "I still think we're going to play pretty good defense over the course of the season. Nick had a real tough play out there with the wind. He said that he didn't think he had a chance off the bat and next thing you know it was behind him. We've had more unearned runs than we would like, but we'll move on, and I do believe that when the season is over, people will say that we played pretty good defense."
The Orioles couldn't do much against Boston starter Justin Masterson -- settling only for an isolated run in the third inning -- and the game got out of control once Baltimore went to the bullpen. Dennis Sarfate pitched just one inning and was charged with three runs, and Radhames Liz gave up three hits and six earned runs.
Liz, who also hit two batters, was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game. Baltimore will recall starter Brad Bergesen to pitch in Tuesday's series opener against the White Sox. Trembley, while excited to see Bergesen and get back on the right track, said his team hasn't lost sight of the game's winning ingredients.
"You've got to have all three elements to give yourself opportunities to win," Trembley said. "You've got to pitch well, you've got to play good defense [and] you've got to have timely hitting. Some of the balls today found some holes. Some others were a little unfortunate. ... We're all very much aware of the importance of the fundamentals."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.