Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's pitching matchup pitted Miguel Gonzalez (9-7, 3.98 ERA) against the red hot Ivan Nova (8-4, 3.02 ERA). As you'll recall, Nova's last start against the Orioles came on August 31 at Yankee Stadium when he threw a three-hit shutout. Meanwhile, Gonzalez's last outing against New York came the day before on August 30 when he was shelled for seven runs in four innings. How would they both fare this time at the yard?
Through the first four innings, it looked like more of the same from Nova. He cruised along, pounding the lower half of the zone with his sinking fastball and a plus curve. Gonzalez, meanwhile pitched much better this time allowing just a run on an RBI double by A-Rod through four.
In the 5th inning we learned that good things happen IF you get Nova out of rhythm. J.J. Hardy led off with an infield single followed by a chopper that found a hole from Brian Roberts. Henry Urrutia then cued a grounder to third which Reynolds threw away, allowing Hardy to score. After Nick Markakis sac flied Roberts in, Chris Davis came up with two outs and jacked a two run bomb off the rare hanging curve to rightcenter. Took a couple lucky breaks, but none-the-less a four run inning was huge against Nova.
Unfortunately, Gonzalez quickly coughed up two runs by allowing solo shots to Mark Reynolds and Alfonso Soriano. The Orioles would hold a 4-3 lead until the 8th inning. Kevin Gausman surrendered the lead in the 8th off a Robinson Cano RBI double and a Soriano two run homer. The Yanks would tack on another run against Francisco Rodriguez off a Reynolds double. The Yankees now led 7-4. The Orioles would tack on a run in the 8th before getting dominated by Mariano Rivera in the 9th to take a disappointing loss.
After laying a stinkbomb in New York, Miguel Gonzalez was given an extra day of rest before his next outing against the White Sox and rebounded with a strong seven inning performance with just a run allowed and six strikeouts.
Tonight, Gonzo looked good through the first two innings. He commanded all corners of the strike zone well and got ahead in the count for the most part. He scuffled a bit in the third when Chris Stewart grounded a single up the middle and later scored on a two out double in the left center gap by A-Rod. He worked his way through the next few innings without allowing further score and coming up with a few key strikeouts. Unfortunately, he unfolded a bit in the 6th, leaving fastballs over the zone for Soriano and Reynolds to hit out of the park. That would be it for Gonzo. Disappointing 6th aside, this was a nice bounceback outing for Miguel, and we'll gladly take a solid six innings and three runs allowed.
Final Line: 6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 HR, 0 BB, 6 K, ND
Kevin Gausman was brought on to pitch the 7th inning. He did very well getting Eduardo Nunez to pop out, and Lyle Overbay and Brett Gardner to strikeout on changeups. He looked good so I understand Buck leaving him in to face A-Rod in the 8th. A-Rod led off with a double. Cano singled him in. Soriano hit a two run jack for three runs allowed by Gausman in the 8th.
Francisco Rodriguez was then brought in and he didn't fare much better at first, allowing back to back doubles by Granderson and Reynolds and an earned run, before setting down the next three batters.
Josh Stinson started out the 9th to face David Adams and struck him out on a 94 MPH heater. Brian Matusz was then called upon to face Cano (an inning too late). After walking Cano, Matusz retired Soriano and struck out Curtis Granderson.
The O's were outclassed last time with Nova. This time they rolled out the same lineup but except instead of Buttermit at DH, tonights lineup featured EL Cubano, Mr. Henry Urrutia. Urrutia would come through with a key "hit" in the 6th that scored the Orioles first run when Reynolds airmailed the throw to first.
Chris Davis had himself a big 2-for-2 night. He singled in the 4th and bashed a two run homer (49) in the 5th and walked in his other two plate appearances.
J.J. Hardy recorded the only other two hit night, going 2-for-4 with two singles.
Manny Machado and Adam Jones had off nights, both going 0-for-4 with a strikout apiece.
Defensive Highlights/ Lowlights
In the 4th inning, Chris Davis misplayed a backhand attempt on a Reynolds groundball with two outs to keep the inning alive for the Yanks. It would not matter as Ichiro popped out to short the next pitch.
Key Moments In The Game
Chris Davis coming up with the big fly in the 5th. After dominating the first four innings efficiently, Nova had to labor in the 5th. This likely led to a command lapse agaisnt Davis when Nova hung a curve for Davis to deposit into the rightcenter seats.
Buck's decison to leave Kevin Gausman in the 8th...(rant alert)
The 8th inning was extremely frustrating. I get up to use the john and I come back to see A-Rod on second with a leadoff double. Personally, I thought Gausman should have been hooked after that. Cano was due up. Why on earth wasn't a lefty reliever brought in? Instead, Gausman was left in and Cano singled in the tying run. Then, Gausman was still left in despite lacking experience holding a one run lead in the 8th in a playoff atmosphere. Sure enough, Soriano came up and hit a two run bomb to give the Yankees a 6-4 lead. Why on earth wasn't Darren O'Day brought in to face Soriano? Righty batters hit .154 off O'Day. O'Day is our go-to setup reliever!
Other Notes/ Musings
O's are expected to lose Nick Markakis for paternity leave tomorrow. Look for Michael Morse to start in place of him.
It was announced today that Adam Jones was selected by his Orioles teammates as their nominee for the Marvin Miller Man of the Year award.
More announcements: The Orioles will begin celebrating their 60th anniversary next season with a March 31 home opener against the Sawx.
Any day now Davis and Machado will hit number 50. Home runs for Davis; Doubles for Machado.
That's all i got. Tough loss considering they could've gained a game on the Rays.
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