Indeed it was, and it was on display all day. Baltimore overcame multiple deficits to force extra innings and wriggled out of two potentially back-breaking jams. Jim Johnson got a line-drive double play to escape a bases-loaded jam in the 11th, and Brian Bass induced a 3-2-3 double play to wriggle out of a tense situation in the 12th.
And then the dam broke. Los Angeles loaded the bases on three straight singles in the 13th, and then Torii Hunter delivered the go-ahead run with a base hit up the middle. The Orioles went to Matt Albers at that point, and he allowed a five-hit rally capped by a three-run homer from outfielder Juan Rivera.
"It's just a frustrating day to give up single after single and give up the game. It's unfortunate," said Bass. "It's definitely a momentum breaker. We got out and scored late in the game to tie it up and we couldn't get it done. We just have to put it behind us, come out tomorrow and try to go on a road trip on a good note."
Los Angeles controlled the early innings and scored the game's first four runs, but the Orioles battled back on the strength of three home runs. Baltimore made it a 4-2 game in the third on a two-run shot by Brian Roberts, and after the Angels scored two more runs, Luke Scott led a two-run rally with a solo homer in the fourth.
The Angels (70-45) went quietly in the top of the fifth, setting the stage for a game-tying homer by Nick Markakis. But after all that work, Baltimore starter Jeremy Guthrie couldn't keep things deadlocked. Howie Kendrick netted a two-out double off Guthrie in the sixth and came around to score the go-ahead run on a single.
"Our offense did a tremendous job as they have been throughout the year," said Guthrie, who is 0-4 with a 7.55 ERA in his past five starts. "They really had some big hits, really had some big at-bats. To come back and have a chance to win that game despite the pitching is obviously a big compliment to them. It just didn't work out."
In Trembley's mind, the pitching situation was hard to explain. Trembley said that Guthrie had good stuff throughout the game and that he had a turbulent swing in performance between the fifth and sixth innings.
"In the fifth, he got an easy 1-2-3 inning," said Trembley of Guthrie's performance. "He's probably thrown the best he's thrown in the game. He comes out in the sixth and gets two quick outs and all of a sudden they're hitting them like they know what's coming. That's the perplexing thing, how can that change so quickly?"
The Orioles (48-69) got a tremendous play from Adam Jones in the seventh that allowed them to keep the game close. Los Angeles had loaded the bases on two hits and an intentional walk when Mike Napoli rocketed a ball toward the center-field fence. Jones scaled the wall, keeping the shot to a sacrifice fly instead of an extra-base hit.
Jones figured into another key play in the ninth, after Roberts had doubled and stolen third base against closer Brian Fuentes. Jones came up with no outs and needing a hit or a fly ball to tie the game, and he lifted a towering drive to left field that brought Rivera all the way back to the fence.
"I knew it was a sacrifice fly, but I definitely didn't think that it was out," said Jones. "I kept looking at it and it just kept going and going, but I was like, 'Nah, it's not out.' It was closer than I even thought."
Jones, the team's lone All-Star representative, provided the best summary of the game. He lauded his team's effort, but admitted that nobody in the clubhouse was taking a moral victory from the dramatic loss.
"We started in a hole and then we came back," said Jones. "Then we got back down and we came back. Then we got back down again and came back again. We got out of some tough jams, but there was that one huge inning. [It's hard] but that's part of the game. We went out and played hard, but sometimes things happen."