The most important road trip of the Baltimore Orioles’ season has not gone as the team planned.
The Orioles traveled to Boston to begin their road swing and lost the first two games of the series to the American League East leading Red Sox. But the O’s were able to grab a win in the series finale thanks to the heroics of Manny Machado.
Following the series in Boston, the Orioles made their way to Yankee Stadium to battle the New York Yankees. The Orioles would lose the first two games of that series as well. But thanks to an explosive 7th inning in the final game of the series, the Birds were able to leave the Big Apple with a win.
As has been the trend for most of the season, the Orioles used the home run to put runs on the scoreboard. Shortstop J.J. Hardy and centerfielder Adam Jones both hit three-run home runs in the 7th inning to lift the Orioles past the Yankees.
Not to be overlooked was the performance by 22-year-old rookie Kevin Gausman. Wei-Yin Chen, the Orioles starting pitcher, had some command issues as he walked five Yankees in just four innings of work. Chen finished the day allowing three runs on four hits.
Gausman, the fourth overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft, relieved Chen in the 5th and pitched two one-hit shutout innings, he was awarded with the win. This season, Gausman is 2-0 against the Bronx Bombers allowing no runs in nine innings — against every other opponent he is 0-3 with an 8.17 ERA.
“[September baseball] is not for the faint of heart. This isn’t a situation for the weak of knees,” said Orioles manager Buck Showalter following Sunday’s game.
The Orioles (72-63) will continue their nine-game road trip with a final three-game series against the Cleveland Indians (72-64) tomorrow afternoon. The two clubs are separated by half a game in the AL Wild Card race.
On Monday the O’s will send Bud Norris (9-10, 4.13 ERA) to the mound to face Justin Masterson (14-9, 3.49 ERA). Norris has yet to lose a game when starting for the Orioles, his only loss in an Oriole uniform came in a relief appearance against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 14. In his last two starts Norris has accumulated 10 IP, allowing 13 hits and eight earned runs.
Chris Tillman (15-4, 3.61 ERA) takes the mound Tuesday against Ubaldo Jimenez (9-9, 3.95 ERA). In his last three starts Tillman has pitched 21 innings and has a 3.00 ERA with 22 strikeouts. He recorded his 15th win of the season on Thursday in Boston, becoming the first Oriole since Erik Bedard (2006) to win 15 games.
Miguel Gonzalez (8-7, 4.11 ERA) will oppose Zach McAllister (7-8, 3.81 ERA) to conclude the series at Progressive Field. Gonzalez has struggled as of late for the O’s. Before making two relief appearances, Gonzalez surrendered eight hits and four walks in 5.2 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays on Aug. 20. Then on Saturday in New York, he allowed seven runs on six hits in four innings of work.
Newly-acquired Michael Morse made his Orioles debut against the Yankees Sunday. He finished the game going 2-4 with two singles and one run scored.