BALTIMORE — Maybe it was really because of a quick pitch, or perhaps the reason Bobby Valentine and Adrian Gonzalez were so furious had something to do with the way Boston has been playing lately.
Valentine and Gonzalez were both ejected in the eighth inning of yet another loss by the Red Sox, this one a 5-3 decision against the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday night.
Gonzalez was tossed from the game by home plate umpire Mike Everitt after insisting that Baltimore reliever Pedro Strop threw a quick pitch. Gonzalez bounced out to second and expressed his frustration while crossing the field, then continued the argument from the top step of the dugout.
"When I got back, I said, out of the frustration and everything, I just said, 'Mike, you stink.' Maybe I shouldn't have said that," Gonzalez said. "My job there was to get on base .just get something started, and it was taken away from me."
Valentine picked up the argument after Gonzalez was tossed, and within seconds he received his 41st ejection as a major league manager.
"The reason they have a rule for the quick-pitch is because it's dangerous," Valentine said. "A lot of guys are using it now and I think it's very dangerous."
Boston starter Aaron Cook held the Orioles hitless through five innings, but Baltimore sent 10 batters to the plate in a five-run sixth that turned the game around and saddled the Red Sox with their sixth loss in eight games.
Carl Crawford had two RBIs for Boston, which fell four games under .500 (57-61) for the first time since May 13.
The Orioles trailed 2-0 before rallying against Cook, who fueled the uprising with a throwing error on a potential inning-ending, double-play comebacker. The miscue led to three unearned runs and saddled Cook (3-6) with his fourth loss in five starts.
"When you get the ground ball you have to cash in there," Valentine said. "We're in the dugout if he makes the play."
Cook allowed only a pair of walks through the first five innings and got 13 of 15 outs on grounders. The first out in the sixth also came on a groundball, and then the trouble began.
"He started to get it up," Baltimore's Adam Jones said. "You start to see somebody three times, you get him."
Nick Markakis walked and J.J. Hardy lined a single to left. Nate McLouth hit an RBI single, and with runners on the corners Jones hit a bouncer to Cook, who threw wildly to second as Hardy scored the tying run.
"It's a play I've made a 100 times," Cook said. "I just didn't get my feet set. We lost because I made an error."
Matt Wieters put the Orioles in front and chased Cook with an opposite-field, ground-rule double to left. Andrew Miller got Chris Davis to hit a grounder to drawn-in second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who threw home. Jones lowered his left shoulder and ran hard into catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, who applied the tag for the second out.
"It was fun. It was awesome," Jones said of the collision. "It was much needed.
Mark Reynolds followed with a two-run double off Junichi Tazawa for a 5-2 lead, and that was enough to propel the Orioles (64-53) to their ninth win in 11 games.
Crawford got Boston to 5-3 in the seventh with a run-scoring groundout, but Boston went down in order in the eighth and ninth.
Rookie Miguel Gonzalez (5-2) allowed two runs and six hits in six innings for the Orioles and Jim Johnson worked the ninth for his 35th save in 38 tries. The game ended with rookie third baseman Manny Machado making a diving stab of Nick Punto's liner down the line.
The Red Sox are 3-8 against Baltimore this season and have lost five of the past six series between the teams dating to last season.
Limited to two singles and a walk through four innings, Boston grabbed a 2-0 lead in the fifth. After Scott Podsednik and Punto singled, Jacoby Ellsbury doubled in a run and Crawford followed with a sacrifice fly.
NOTES: Omar Quintanilla made the first and last outs in the Baltimore sixth. ... Boston DH David Ortiz was told to stop running for a few days as he attempts to return from a right Achilles strain. He's been on the DL since July 18. ... Orioles INF Wilson Betemit will have an MRI performed on his sore right wrist "to see if there's anything more than tendinitis," Showalter said. ... Boston RHP Clay Buchholz pitches in the series finale against Baltimore's Chris Tillman. All three of Buchholz's career shutouts have come against Baltimore. ... Orioles DH Jim Thome, who's on the DL with a herniated disk, served as an assistant scout Tuesday night while pitching prospect Dylan Bundy threw for Double-A Bowie. ... Ellsbury has a 38-game hitting streak against Baltimore dating back to April 17, 2009.