Published April 21, 2013
BALTIMORE – Jake Arrieta stood in front of the cameras and microphones, looked straight ahead and took every bit of the blame for the loss that prevented the Baltimore Orioles from completing a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Arrieta allowed only two singles, but the right-hander walked five and hit a batter in four-plus innings Sunday in a 7-4 defeat.
Three of those walks turned into runs, and the batter he hit with a pitch also came around to score.
"I really feel like the Dodgers didn't beat us today. I beat us," Arrieta said. "I put us in a tough situation, not giving up many hits at all, just making their job a lot easier by putting them on base for free. It's unacceptable."
Arrieta (1-1), who gave up five runs, has not yet pitched more than five innings in any of his four starts this season. Over 19 innings, he's allowed 15 hits, 16 walks and 14 earned runs.
"It's there," manager Buck Showalter said of Arrieta's potential. "It's up to him and us to get it out of him."
Adam Jones homered and Chris Davis had three hits for the Orioles, who blew an early 4-1 lead.
Mark Ellis drove in three runs and Matt Kemp singled in the go-ahead run during a four-run fifth inning for the Dodgers, who snapped a six-game losing streak.
Recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque before the game as an emergency replacement for Chad Billingsley, Stephen Fife gave up three runs to Baltimore in the first inning. But he ended up outlasting Arrieta, who couldn't get an out in the fifth.
"To just put them on free, when they're not having to work for it, is not good. It's really not," Arrieta said.
It was great for the Dodgers, however, who were delighted to end their longest skid since a seven-game run last June.
"Any win is big for us at the moment," Kemp said.
Before the game, the Dodgers put Billingsley on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow soreness and recalled Fife. Billingsley, who finished last season on the DL with soreness in the same elbow, will return to Los Angeles on Tuesday for further medical evaluation.
It was another blow to the struggling Dodgers, whose starting rotation was already without Zach Greinke (left broken collarbone), Chris Capuano (left calf strain) and Ted Lilly (left shoulder surgery).
Fife, who started five games with Los Angeles last season, allowed four runs and seven hits in 4 2-3 innings.
"Kind of below average," Fife said in assessing his performance. "I'd like to have come out of the game better, gotten deeper. I kind of failed in one aspect but gave us enough of a chance to walk out of here with a win."
J.P. Howell (1-0) gave up a single before getting the final out in the fifth. Matt Guerrier and Paco Rodriguez each pitched a hitless inning, Kenley Jansen allowed a single in the eighth and Brandon League got three outs for his fifth save.
Down 4-1, the Dodgers took advantage of Arrieta's wildness to score four runs in the fifth. After sandwiching two walks around a hit batter, Arrieta was pulled after giving up a two-run single to Ellis. Adrian Gonzalez greeted T.J. McFarland with a liner into the left-field corner that glanced off the glove of Nate McLouth for an RBI double, and Kemp capped the uprising with a run-scoring single.
The four runs matched the most by Los Angeles in one inning this season.
A.J. Ellis singled in a run in the seventh and Jerry Hairston delivered a sacrifice fly in the ninth.
Baltimore welcomed Fife back to the majors in rude fashion, sending eight batters to the plate in a three-run first. Nick Markakis singled in a run, J.J. Hardy hit a bases-loaded single with two outs and Fife contributed to the onslaught by throwing a wild pitch and hitting a batter.
Arrieta retired the first six batters but lost control in the third. He walked three batters and yielded a sacrifice fly to Mark Ellis before striking out Kemp with two outs and the bases loaded.
In the bottom half, Jones hit a drive into the left field seats for a 4-1 lead.
NOTES: For the first time in six games, the Orioles did not allow a first-inning run. ... Baltimore will send Chris Tillman to the mound Monday in the opener of a three-game set against visiting Toronto. ... Jones has reached safely in 17 of 18 games. ... Davis went 7 for 12 in the series to up his batting average to .403.