Beltre dominates Orioles
BALTIMORE — Zach Britton knew who beat him. It was Adrian Beltre.
Beltre hit two home runs off Britton, driving in four runs, and later added an RBI single.
Britton gave up five runs in the Orioles’ 8-4 loss to the Texas Rangers before 29,160 at Oriole Park on Tuesday night, and shortly after the game was optioned to Norfolk.
Kevin Gausman, who the Orioles would like to see pitch more regularly, was also optioned after he allowed two runs in 1 1/3 innings in relief of Britton.
Manager Buck Showalter hinted that multiple moves were coming after the game. The Orioles will activate Wei-Yin Chen from the disabled list to start Wednesday’s game and probably promote another pitcher.
Perhaps the Orioles could look to Tsuyoshi Wada, who hasn’t pitched for them because of Tommy John surgery last May. He’s spent much of this year with Tides.
Before he got the news he was going back to Norfolk, Britton was blunt about why he lost.
“Beltre beat me. I did him some favors by putting some guys on ahead of him. Just didn’t make the quality pitch. Left some balls out over the plate, he’s not missing too many mistakes and didn’t’ miss any today. Can’t let a guy like that beat you and I did by putting some guys on ahead of him,” Britton said.
The Orioles have seen quite enough of Beltre. Last Aug. 22, Beltre hit three home runs against them. Beltre’s 19th home run of the year leading off the second gave Texas a 1-0 lead. He added a three-run home run in the fifth. Beltre added an RBI single in the ninth off Darren O’Day, and had a single in the fourth and was walked intentionally in the seventh.
“You know he's a good hitter, and then when you make bad pitches on top of them, he's not going to miss them," Showalter said.
The Orioles tied it at 1 in the bottom of the second on singles by Matt Wieters, Nate McLouth and Brian Roberts. Manny Machado hit his seventh home run of the year with one out in the third off Martin Perez to give the Orioles (49-42) a 2-1 lead.
Nelson Cruz’s RBI single in the fifth tied the score at 2, and moments later, Beltre hit a three-run shot to left, giving the Rangers a 5-2 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Orioles loaded the bases without a hit. Nolan Reimold and Nick Markakis reached on errors and Chris Davis was hit by a pitch and J.J. Hardy singled to score Reimold and Markakis. Britton (2-3) was removed after five innings, trailing 5-4. He allowed five runs on eight hits, walking three without a strikeout.
“He's pitched some good games for us. Hopefully, he will again. Tonight wasn't one of them,” Showalter said.
Gausman allowed an RBI double by Jurickson Profar to make it 6-4 in the seventh. It was the first run given up by Gausman since moving to the bullpen. He was charged with another run when A.J. Pierzynski singled off Brian Matusz and Texas (53-37) led 7-4.
In the bottom of the seventh, Markakis walked against Perez (3-1). Jason Frasor relieved Perez and Markakis tried to steal second with Machado at bat. On a 3-2 pitch, Machado was called out on strikes by home plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth, and after Markakis had slid safely to second, Machado was ruled out for interfering with Pierzynski behind the plate.
“I thought it was a ball so I took a step towards first base and [Pierzynski] hit his hand against my elbow,” Machado said.
“It’s a tough call, it could have gone either way. I honestly thought it was a ball so I took a step and I was about to toss my bat. If I would have tossed my bat I would have hit him right in the shin. He came up to me and he did what he needed to do as a catcher and the umpire called it.”
Showalter argued the call, but like so many lately, it didn’t go in the Orioles favor.
“Certain catchers who have been around a while understand that if you don't have a play at second, you invite some contact. It's one of those things. [Culbreth] got the call right by the way it's designed. That certainly didn't beat us,” Showalter said.
Perez threw six-plus innings, allowing four runs, two earned on six hits, walking one and striking out four. Frasor, Tanner Scheppers and Cory Burns threw three hitless innings for Texas.
NOTES: Steve Johnson (strained left oblique) will throw live batting practice on Thursday in Sarasota, Fla.
-Chen (3-3, 3.04) faces Josh Lindblom (1-2, 4.50) on Wednesday.