Can O's sustain momentum without fixing bullpen?
NEW YORK – Orioles manager Buck Showalter often adjusts his starting rotation to make sure that Miguel Gonzalez starts against the New York Yankees, especially at Yankee Stadium.
After Friday night, Showalter may think again.
Gonzalez was pummeled for seven runs in four-plus innings, and the Orioles dropped the opener of a three-game series with the Yankees 8-5 before 45,169 at Yankee Stadium.
The Orioles (71-62) have lost three of their first four games on an important road trip to Boston, New York and Cleveland.
Gonzalez wasted a 4-2 lead. He allowed the first six batters of the fifth inning to reach base, and his night was over.
CC Sabathia no longer looks like one of baseball’s best despite his 18-5 record against the Orioles. He allowed five runs in 5 2/3 innings.
“CC—he’s one of the best out there, and we scored five off him. We thought we could have won the game tonight. Our offense did a good job. I feel like I let them down,” Gonzalez said.
Sabathia retired the first 10 Orioles to face him. In the fourth, Manny Machado doubled. It was his 46th of the season. With two outs, Chris Davis blooped one into short center, and the Orioles had their first run.
Gonzalez (8-7) didn’t allow a hit until the fourth. With two outs, Robinson Cano walked, and Alfonso Soriano homered to right. It was his 12th home run in just his 32nd game with the Yankees.
In the top of the fifth, Nick Markakis led off with a single. After he moved to second on a wild pitch, Danny Valencia homered into the Orioles’ bullpen in left-center, his sixth of the year, and the Orioles led 3-2. Alexi Casilla walked. Taylor Teagarden bunted him to second, and Casilla scored on Machado’s base hit.
In the bottom of the fifth, it came undone for Gonzalez. Curtis Granderson led off with a double. Mark Reynolds, who was playing his 12th game for New York (71-63) doubled to left to score Granderson. Ichiro Suzuki hit his seventh home run of the year, a two-run shot, and the Orioles trailed 5-4.
Austin Romine doubled and moved to third on Brett Gardner’s single. Derek Jeter walked to load the bases, and after allowing those first six batters to reach, manager Buck Showalter removed Gonzalez and brought in T.J. McFarland.
McFarland allowed a single to Cano, which scored Romine and Gardner, and it was 7-4.
“I can’t even explain it. It was a tough one,” Gonzalez said.
Showalter said that he doesn’t think Gonzalez is tired. On extra rest, he may have been even too fresh, Showalter said.
"There just wasn't much there for him all of a sudden. It came pretty quickly,” Showalter said.
Gonzalez was charged with seven runs on six hits in four-plus innings. It was his shortest outing against the Yankees in his seven career starts against them. He walked three and didn’t strike out a batter.
Markakis’ two-out single in the sixth scored Adam Jones, who had doubled, and the Orioles cut the lead to 7-5. Shawn Kelley replaced Sabathia, allowed a single to Valencia, but retired Casilla on a grounder to second. The Orioles were basically done for the night.
“I don’t know about momentum in baseball and things like that, but they were certainly swinging the bats well. They just exploded that one inning there,” Nate McLouth said.
While Showalter and Jones say there’s plenty of time, the Orioles have just 29 games to play. They’re 18-19 since the All-Star break and are 7 ½ games out of first place, but just a half-game ahead of the fourth-place Yankees.
The Orioles don’t have a winning streak longer than five games, and that eats at McLouth. He knows the Orioles need one now.
“I don’t know if there’s a recipe. You just go out and play well. There’s nothing else to do. We haven’t done that as consistently as we’d like to, really all year. You talk about the winning streak, or the lack thereof. It tells the story right there,” McLouth said.
Kelley, Boone Logan, David Robertson and Marinao Rivera combined to limited to Orioles to no runs and just two hits in the final 3 1/3 innings. Rivera earned his 39th save.
New York scored its eighth run in the seventh inning on an RBI single by Alex Rodriguez.
NOTES: Scott Feldman (4-3, 4.56) faces Ivan Nova (7-4, 3.14) on Saturday afternoon.
-McFarland has allowed a run in each of his last seven appearances. He’s the first Orioles relief pitcher to do that since Brian Burres in 2007.
-Francisco Rodriguez hit Granderson with a pitch in the seventh. It was his first hit batsman since June 30, 2011 and just the 14th in 722 major league games.