Angels 6, Orioles 3: Goodbye first place

Jered Weaver was definitely the star of tonight's game.

When we remember this game, let's try to remember the first four and a half innings, OK? Yes, I know that's impossible. But wouldn't it be nice?

For the first four innings of this game, Jake Arrieta and Jered Weaver engaged in fantastic pitchers duel. Arrieta allowed a single in the first inning and that was the only runner to reach for either team in those four innings. Arrieta struck out four, Weaver struck out three and was pitching a perfect game. Arrieta's command looked good, his breaking ball was just filthy, and it was amazing to watch.

Weaver blinked first, losing both the perfect game and the shutout in the top of the fifth inning. Adam Jones led off with an infield single, and Matt Wieters hit a bomb to right field, his fifth of the season. That gave the Orioles a 2-0 lead, and with the way Arrieta was pitching, it felt like it might be enough.

Wrong.

I have no idea what happened to Arrieta but it was as though a completely different pitcher was on the mound starting in the fifth inning. Armed with a two-run lead, Arrieta gave up a single to Torii Hunter, then threw the ball away trying to pick him off. Hunter moved to second on the error, then to third when Arrieta threw a wild pitch. Mark Trumbo singled in Hunter, and Arrieta then walked Maicer Izturis, brother of Cesar.

With two runners on Arrieta finally got the first out by striking out Chris Iannetta. But his troubles were far from over, and he didn't get another out. The next FIVE batters reached (two walks, three singles) and Jake looked lost. With the score 5-2 in favor of the Angels, just one out and the bases loaded, Arrieta was lifted from the game. Matt Lindstrom took over and induced two ground outs to end the inning with no more runs scoring.

By that point the only hope I had for this game was that Jered Weaver had gotten cold sitting in the dugout during that long, long inning. That hope was dashed as he came out for the sixth and only faced three batters, throwing just seven pitches. Sigh.

The Orioles came within two runs by scoring another run in the seventh thanks to a triple from Adam Jones and a ground out by Wieters, but they gave it right back to the Angels in the bottom of the inning when Albert Pujols reached on a fielding error by Mark Reynolds and came around to score. That was the capper on the evening of bad defense that saw Arrieta throw two pitches past Chris Davis at first, Matt Lindstrom balk, Matt Wieters miss a ball that he normally blocks, and Adam Jones bobble a ball in the outfield. It was ugly. And I know that we had an idea this team would be bad defensively coming into the season, but this is the worst defense I can remember seeing. It's relentless.

As for Weaver, he finished the game easily. Nick Markakis singled with two outs in the ninth, but a pop up by Jones ended the game with Nick on base.

With the loss and the win by the Yankees today, the Orioles fall out of first place. Shocking, I know! Tomorrow they'll try to avoid the sweep with Wei-Yin Chen on the mound facing Dan Haren.

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