Showalter speaks after 5-4 loss

Tonight’s attendance: 21,465

Alfredo Simon allowed a career-high 11 hits in only 4 2/3 innings. He’s given up 10 runs (eight earned) and 20 hits in his last two starts covering 9 2/3 innings.

Manager Buck Showalter offered the following assessment of tonight’s outing:

“Just inconsistent. He didn’t have much command. I think we gave up 19 or 20 baserunners. We were real lucky to even be in that ballgame. He had one inning that was pretty good crisp-wise, but it was a struggle for him.”

Asked if Simon was dealing with a small strike zone, Showalter replied, “I wouldn’t say that. No. I think a lot of it was self-inflicted.”

J.J. Hardy was sensational again tonight with two home runs and two stellar plays at shortstop.

“I cannot tell you how hard that throw is to third base, going glove side,” he said. “Most people don’t even attempt it, but it’s the right time to attempt it. Only a guy who’s probably as accurate a thrower as you’ll ever see in the infield can make it. A lot of guys don’t even attempt that play. That was as impressive as the other one.

“J.J. had a great game. Chris (Davis) had a good game at first base defensively. Nicky (Markakis) threw a guy out at the plate, and Matt (Wieters) is probably the only catcher I’ve seen who can make that short-hop play like that. Otherwise, we’re not even in that game. Defensively, we played well. We played well.”

Troy Patton allowed a run in 2 2/3 innings - the first from the bullpen in 11 innings, a span of five games.

“He had some physical issues that he seems to have behind him a little bit, and he’d be the first to tell you some things that were self-inflicted off the field,” Showalter said. “He’s also operating on six days’ rest. He’s been pretty crisp when we give him a lot of rest. He hasn’t been quite as crisp - like most pitchers, I should say - when it’s been closer. Troy’s not scared.

“Once again, we did a pretty good job in long relief. Willie (Eyre) comes into a tough situation there with (Magglio) Ordonez and (Miguel) Cabrera. That’s pretty impressive. But you don’t pick. It’s the big leagues. That’s one of the better lineups in the American League. They’ve got a lot of weapons. But Troy was good again. It was good to see. Their starting pitcher basically went a little deeper than ours did. Shortened the game for them.”

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