ANAHEIM -- It started with such promise, the kind of stuff Orioles starter Jake Arrieta was showcasing the first four innings of Saturday's game. It was the kind that made you sit up in your seat and lean closer to the TV, or anxiously turn the radio dial up to listen closer as Arrieta went strike for strike in lightning fashion with Angels ace Jered Weaver, who hadn't lost an April start in more than two years.
But as quickly as it came -- the first four innings took approximately a half-hour to transpire -- it fell apart even faster in a five-run fifth inning that Arrieta couldn't stop, exiting after just one out. The result -- a 6-3 loss to the Angels -- left the Orioles with their first back-to-back losses in nine games, and the bad taste of a good game gone awry.
"He's not a young pitcher anymore, all right?" manager Buck Showalter said of the 26-year-old Arrieta, who was the Orioles' Opening Day starter. "It's time to win those types of games. We shouldn't have the type of problems we had. We need a shut-down inning there [in the fifth], and let's go. He's had enough experience to get through that. And he will."
Working with a two-run lead courtesy of Matt Wieters' homer in the top of the inning, Arrieta took the mound to start the fifth inning with just 51 pitches thrown and just one baserunner allowed. He had allowed a leadoff single to Erick Aybar -- and then committed a throwing error on a pickoff play -- but retired the next 12 in a row before Torii Hunter's single to open the fifth.
The inning went downhill in a hurry. Hunter advanced to second on Arrieta's second error -- another attempted pickoff throw -- and took third on a wild pitch, scoring on Mark Trumbo's RBI single. Arrieta walked two of the next three batters, and the Angels put together a five-run frame on five singles and three walks before the second out was recorded.
"That's what was pretty shocking about the whole fifth inning," Arrieta said, "I felt like I was in complete control there. Torii [Hunter] hit a good slider down in the zone for a base hit to start the inning, and it kind of got out of hand from there. So, it's something that won't happen a lot, I'll assure you that. I just need to do a little bit better job of commanding the ball, especially when I am behind in the count."
Arrieta called his second error a "very, very tough mental mistake," and Wieters went out to the mound to make sure he was OK.
"I think he refocused," Wieters said. "Just couldn't quite get the location and the sharpness of his pitches [back]."
"I hate to think that was it," Showalter said when asked about the possibility of Arrieta's second error causing the wheels to fall off. "I know you guys [in the media] are looking for something that pushed the button. But I don't know if that's it.
"I'm more interested in the mentality of a shut-down inning after your team scores two runs off one of the best pitchers in the American League. You got to pitch that next inning like the seventh game of the World Series."
Instead, Arrieta exited the inning having recorded just one out on 35 pitches, handing the ball to reliever Matt Lindstrom with the bases loaded. Lindstrom kept Arrieta's line from getting any uglier, collecting a pair of groundouts en route to tossing 1 2/3 scoreless innings.
The Orioles got a run back in the seventh inning with Wieters' third RBI of the night, a groundout that scored Adam Jones. Jones, who singled and scored on Wieters' homer, tripled to open the seventh, but Baltimore again gave the run right back with an unearned run in the bottom of the inning. Mark Reynolds was charged with a throwing error on Albert Pujols' grounder to third, his third miscue of the season, for the Orioles' third error of the night and 19th this season. Hunter later plated Pujols with a groundout.
The O's are tied with the San Francisco Giants for the most errors in the Majors, and have committed 15 in their last nine games. Nine different players have committed an error for the Orioles so far this season, and seven of those players have more than one error.
The Angels' five-run fifth was plenty for Weaver, who picked up his ninth career complete game and limited the Orioles to five hits in improving to 3-0 on the season. Weaver, who gave up his first homer of the season to Wieters, gave credit to the Angels' offense, which collected 10 hits and tied a season high in runs scored in an inning in the fifth.
"We know what this offense is capable off, and they showed it tonight," Weaver said. "They got some key hits, were able to load the bases against a guy that's having a great start to the season, and knock him out of the game. Tip your hat to the offense today. They picked me up, and I was able to go out there and finish it off."
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.