BALTIMORE—Darren O’Day couldn’t contain his anger. He struck out his first two batters in the eighth inning and thought he had J.D. Martinez struck out for the third out. But, first base umpire Mark Wegner ruled it was a checked swing, and one pitch later, Martinez hit a home run to center, tying the score.
On the next pitch, Miguel Cabrera followed with his sixth home run to left, and suddenly, the Orioles were behind.
The Orioles’ seven-game winning streak ended with a 6-5 loss to the Detroit Tigers before 37,890 shocked fans at Oriole Park.
O’Day, who is rarely sought after in the postgame scrum except on the rare occasions he doesn’t do his job. This time, he said it was Wegner who didn’t do his.
“It was a good pitch. I tried to get him to swing at it and I did. Mark Wegner absolutely embarrassed himself. I have a great relationship with a lot of umpires. Some I consider friends. They have a tough job. It’s a judgment call. But that was pretty egregious. You look at all the replays, it’s a swing,” O’Day said.
“It’s strike three. I was heading to the dugout. It’s tough to be an umpire, man. It’s a tough job, but you’ve got to be better than that. I’ll take the loss. I blew it. The pitch to Cabrera was especially bad. That’s not like me. I’m pretty collected out there. I’ll take that loss. It’s under my name in the box score, but that was terrible, terrible.”
O’Day, who is the Orioles’ player representative, likely will face a fine for publicly criticizing Wegner.
On the 2-2 pitch, home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg asked for help from Wegner, and that’s where the trouble started.
“Hitters [who are] that good don’t need extra chances. And I like that he checked. I appreciate that Jeff didn’t call it, because that’s what the first-base umpire is supposed to be watching. Games like that, assumed Zach [Britton] does what he normally does in the ninth inning, that’s a win and a series sweep against a really good team. …It cost us,” O’Day said.
O’Day (2-1) inherited a 5-4 lead and ended with a rare loss.
The Orioles (23-13) have big thoughts about this year, and they’re taking losses personally.
“A lot of times stuff like that happens. Umpiring is a tough job. It’s happened to me before, and I’ve gotten out of it before, and now I look petulant, whiny because I’m complaining about it, but there’s no accountability, and that costs games. If we lose the division by one game, there’s no telling what that costs,” O’Day said.
O’Day is one of manager Buck Showalter’s favorites, and he defended him. This was the first time O’Day had given up back-to-back homers, and the first time since July 2, 2011 when he was with Texas.
“It’s unusual because he’s such a good pitcher. He has been and will be. It’s more unusual to see the swing called a no-swing. I’m surprised the home plate umpire didn’t call it. It was that obvious,” Showalter said.
Warwick Saupold (1-0) pitched 2 2/3 scoreless innings to win his first major league game in just his second appearance. Francisco Rodriguez worked the ninth for his ninth save.
Cabrera’s first inning double gave Detroit a 1-0 lead.
The Orioles scored three runs in the first on Adam Jones’ RBI double and Jonathan Schoop’s two-run single.
Justin Upton started the second with a single and scored on Steven Moya’s triple.
Kinsler’s leadoff home run in the fourth tied it at 3, and Detroit took a 4-3 lead on James McCann’s RBI single in the fifth.
Manny Machado homered to right-center in the fifth, his 11th of the season, a two-run homer and the Orioles were ahead 5-4.
Gausman allowed a career high 10 hits and four runs in five innings. He hoped to pick up his first win of the year, but it was O’Day who was on his mind.
“He obviously swung at that pitch. Being inside and watching it on TV, that’s one of those things that [stinks}, but that’s the game. He’s been great for us and will continue to be great for us. That’s more rare than anything,” Gausman said.
O’Day isn’t one to keep his feelings inside, and he knows that a fine is probably coming.
“I’m trying to pitch. He’s trying to umpire. Somebody dropped the ball today. I consequently dropped the ball after that. When you think you’ve got three strikeouts heading back to the dugout, the pitch that Martinez hit out wasn’t a bad pitch. I’m not too frustrated by that. He’s a really good hitter. He doesn’t need extra chances. The pitch to Cabrera was terrible,” O’Day said.