It would stand to reason that you can’t win ’em all, and that’s pretty much the story of yesterday’s 6-4 loss to Minnesota. If you take two-of-three (or in this case three-of-four) consistently you’re doing pretty well. The Baltimore Orioles have done that of late, and overall this season.
Kevin Gausman was stronger than his stat line indicates, which was pretty much the evaluation that manager Buck Showalter gave in his postgame presser.
Gausman’s line: 7.1 IP, 5 H, 5 R (4 earned) 2 BB, 7 K.
After an easy first inning, Gausman did struggle a bit in the second. However he pitched out of a first and third situation by inducing an
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inning-ending double-play. He also began to struggle a bit in the sixth, which is when Minnesota started to get to him. Following back-to-back one-out singles, Gausman almost unloaded a wild pitch with Joe Mauer at the plate. However catcher Nick Hundley smothered the ball in the dirt. On the next pitch the ball did get away, allowing both runners to get into scoring position. Mauer’s subsequent two-RBI triple gave Minnesota a 2-0 lead, a margin that went up to 3-0 after Vargas’ sac fly-RBI.
Oriole bats struggled down the stretch, at one point only recording three hits. Minnesota starter Phil Hughes of course has seen the Orioles and pitched at Camden Yards many times, due to his years with New York. Quite frankly, yesterday’s game was one of the best I’ve seen him pitch. He shut down Oriole bats very effectively, and when he did allow base runners he marginalized them.
However in the seventh the Orioles almost got the game back due to the defense behind Hughes. Chris Davis recorded a one-out single, and J.J. Hardy appeared to ground into a double-play. However Trevor Plouffe’s errant throw went into right field, allowing Hardy to reach and giving the Orioles runners at the corners. With Davis at third, Jimmy Paredes grounded into what also could have been an inning-ending double play. However Davis ran on contact from third base, and Minnesota threw him out at home plate.
In following my twitter feed, many people seemed to question Davis’ reasons for breaking for home; personally I think it was genius. He drew a throw to the plate, and allowed Paredes to reach base safely. Had Davis just held up at third base, the inning would have been over with a double-play. Instead there were two outs and two runners on. And that’s a fact that shouldn’t have been lost on fans a moment later, when Nick Hundley tied the game at three with a three-run homer.
Gausman pitched into the eighth inning for the first time in his career, however a Jimmy Paredes error allowed Schafer to reach third, and a Joe Mauer two-RBI double would give Minnesota the lead back. The lead would go back up to three (at 6-3) after Vargas’ RBI-single, although the O’s would rally with a Nelson Cruz home run in the ninth to run the final to 6-4.
Paredes had a couple of balls go through his legs yesterday at third, and of course the error to allow what ended up being an unearned run get to third base. It might be tough for Orioles fans to accept given the fact that the team’s in a pennant race, however those are mistakes that the Birds will have to live with for now. They aren’t going to get a third baseman the caliber of Machado, even if Davis slides back over to play third. J.J. Hardy left the game after the seventh inning with some minor back spasms, however just as a precautionary measure. Hardy of course missed five games in April with the same issues, however he said that this time around it was much more minor – Hardy expects to play tonight.
The O’s return to interleague play this evening, albeit under American League rules at Camden Yards. They’ll open up a three-game series with Cincinnati, with Bud Norris getting the start tonight for the Birds. He’ll be opposed by Mat Latos, with game time set for just after 7:00 PM.