"We just didn't get the hit when we needed it to blow the game wide open," manager Dave Trembley said. "We can't afford to give them runs. We gave them a couple of runs and that was unfortunate."
The Orioles have fallen on hard times.
The Orioles are 33 games under .500 and a big part of their eight-game slide has been an inability to score runs.
Fortunately for them, they were facing an Indians team that had lost 11 consecutive games and 20 of its past 23. They were also facing a pitcher in Fausto Carmona, who had given up runs in bunches as of late.
But even against the Tribe and Carmona, the O's couldn't get hits when they needed them.
"We needed some two-out hits," Trembley said. "That didn't happen."
It appeared as if Baltimore's offense might be coming around when Melvin Mora singled with two outs in the second and, two batters later, Michael Aubrey hit an RBI single to put his team up, 1-0.
The O's looked like they were going to score again when Felix Pie hit a liner to right-center field that hopped over the wall for a ground-rule double. Cesar Izturis, who was on first, would have likely scored had the ball not gone over the wall, but he would be held up at third.
The Orioles were unable to score when Matt Wieters struck out to end the inning.
"I wish it would have stayed in," Trembley said. "It would have given us another run."
The Indians finally got to Hernandez in the fifth, when light-hitting second baseman Luis Valbuena led off with a homer. Andy Marte and Lou Marson followed with back-to-back doubles to put the Indians up, 2-1.
Trevor Crowe then laid down a sacrifice bunt, which Mora scooped up and threw past Aubrey at first base, allowing Marson to score and giving the Indians a 3-1 lead.
"We can't give them more runs," Trembley said. "When you're scratching for runs, you can't allow them the luxury of gimme runs."
That run would prove costly when Nick Markakis hit a solo homer, his 17th of the year, to lead off the sixth and get the Orioles to within one at 3-2. They would have a chance to tie the game again later in the inning when Izturis came to the plate with runners on second and third with two outs. But Carmona got him to strike out to end the threat.
In the eighth, the O's wasted another big opportunity when Luke Scott led off with a double. But instead of bunting him over, Trembley opted to let his batters hit away.
"You're playing on the road, you aren't playing for the tie," Trembley said. "You don't want to give outs away."
Mora walked, but Ty Wigginton, Aubrey and Izturis were unable to cash in a run. Baltimore ended the night 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
The Indians would get the insurance run they needed in the eighth when reliever Matt Albers walked Marson with the bases loaded. Hernandez got the loss despite giving up just two earned in six innings.
The Orioles are now 33 games below .500, their worst mark since 1991.
Furthermore, they lost one of their best outfielders when Pie went down with a left quad strain in the seventh. He is day-to-day and will be reevaluated on Saturday.
"It just seems like we're a hit or a pitch away," Hernandez said. "We're going to turn it around."