Ronald Belisario looks like a pitcher in search of himself.
So far he’s not finding the 2012 version. He is stumbling around like a guy struggling to discover the strike zone.
Not helped by catcher Ramon Hernandez, Belisario gave up a pair of runs in the eighth inning Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader, the Dodgers falling 7-5 to the Orioles to drop their fifth consecutive game.
The score was tied 5-5, Kenley Jansen recording four consecutive outs, when with one out in the eighth Manager Don Mattingly called on left-hander Paco Rodriguez.
But Rodriguez gave up a double to Chris Davis on an 0-2 pitch, and Mattingly went to Belisario. First he walked J.J. Hardy on four pitches. Hernandez, unfamiliar with the movement on Belisario’s pitches, had already dropped a pair of pitches and even changed his glove, when he let a pitch get by him for a passed ball that advanced both runners.
Belisario then intentionally walked Nate McLouth to load the bases and Noland Reimold sliced a double down the right-field line to score two.
And his struggles continue. Of the six runners Belisario has inherited this season, all six have scored. In his 7 1/3 innings, he’s given up 11 hits and walked six.
“A little frustrating,” Mattingly told reporters in Baltimore. “We’ll have to get it straightened out. We have to keep showing confidence in Beli.”
The Dodgers initially gave rookie Hyun-Jin Ryu an early 4-0 lead to work with, but this time he could not make it stand up.
Andre Ethier, 1 for 16 with runners in scoring position, came to bat in the first inning with a pair of runners on and hammered the first pitch he saw from Jason Hammel.
The ball went out of the stadium and onto Eutaw Street, which borders that huge brick warehouse past right field. The three RBIs doubled Ethier’s season total.
The Dodgers pushed their lead with another run in the second when Justin Sellers singled, Carl Crawford doubled him to third and he scored on a Mark Ellis sacrifice fly.
Ryu had not given up more than three runs in any of his first three starts, but this time the Orioles, often swinging on his first pitch, rallied for a 5-4 lead.
Baltimore got two back in a hurry, when Davis led off the bottom of the second with a hit and Hardy drilled a two-run homer out to left. A Reimold solo homer in the fourth pulled the Orioles to within one.
They took the lead with a pair of runs in the sixth inning. Matt Wieters led off with a single and Davis doubled him to third. Hardy’s sacrifice fly scored Wieters to tie the score and Steve Pierce singled in Davis to put Baltimore ahead by one, 5-4.
Ryu left after the sixth inning, having given up a season-high five runs on eight hits and two walks. He struck out six.
The Dodgers tied the score in the seventh inning after Mark Ellis walked with one out. Matt Kemp collected his second weakly hit infield single, Ellis hustling to third. Ellis scored from third on a wild pitch by Pedro Strop.
Which was ultimately for naught.