BALTIMORE — Well, that sucked.
Lenn Sakata led off the bottom of the seventh with a ground ball to third that Paul Molitor mishandled. Al Bumbry attempted to sacrifice himself to the benefit of scoring position, but mistakenly reached first safely for a hit. After a Rich Dauer groundout, the Orioles had runners at second and third with one out and Ken Singleton at the plate.
Instead of facing the .256-hitting Singleton, Harvey Kuenn decided it made more sense to put him on and face Eddie Murray with the bases loaded. I guess the logic there is Murray is a double-play threat. But at .296 with seven homers, he’s also a big play threat.
All it really did was put Moose Haas in the uncomfortable position of needing to throw strikes to a player he didn’t really want to throw strikes to. Haas walked Murray to force in the go-ahead run. Harm may have been minimal, though, since Murray inflicted just one run of damage and the struggling Dan Ford was coming to the plate.
Kuenn shuffled to the mound and replaced Haas with Jamie Easterly. The Orioles faithful, who have little patience with the .237-hitting new Oriole, booed as Ford came to the plate. Moments later, Ford hit a grand slam and accepted a curtain call.
Up until that point, the Brewers were neither bad nor spectacular. But it was a game we can expect several times over this season. It was winnable. But you need dependable pitching to win it.
WIth the trading deadline hours away, the results of today’s game is a prime example of why more pitching is needed. Whether it’s an addition to the starting rotation, the bullpen or both, close games that are being lost could be won going forward.
Pull the trigger, Harry. You’re our only hope.
Game Notes: Cecil Cooper missed his fifth consecutive game with a sore hamstring (or buttock). He had told Harvey Kuenn that he was ready. Expect Cooper in the lineup tomorrow.