Manager Buck Showalter removed Koji Uehara after two consecutive strikeouts in the eighth inning. He brought in left-hander Michael Gonzalez to face Ichiro Suzuki with runners on the corners and the game tied.
He could have let Uehara face Ichiro. He could have ordered an intentional walk and let Uehara face Chone Figgins. He could have ordered the intentional walk and brought in Gonzalez.
Showalter let Gonzalez pitch to Ichiro, and his faith was rewarded. Gonzalez recorded the strikeout and left to a loud ovation.
Uehara threw 30 pitches, including 12 to Michael Saunders. He looked gassed. It was probably the right time to make a change, but it’s always a gamble when you pitch to Ichiro.
Gonzalez’s fastball hit 96 mph. He never came close to that figure in spring training and the first week of the season.
The decision II: Showalter removed Gonzalez with one out and Figgins on first base. Figgins reached on an error by shortstop Cesar Izturis, but Gonzalez struck out Russell Branyan. Gonzalez faced three batters and threw 12 pitches.
Alfredo Simon came in to face Jose Lopez, giving Showalter the righty vs. righty matchup. Gonzalez was signed to be the closer, not a left-handed specialist, but Showalter went with the percentages.
Lopez flied to right for the second out - the Orioles’ first outfield putout all night - and Franklin Gutierrez flied to center.
The Orioles’ 12 strikeouts are a season high.