Gonzalez labored in the second inning, facing eight batters and allowing all four of his hits, along with a walk. Nate McLouth lost his footing on a fly ball down the left field line for an error that eventually led to three unearned runs.
The wind here is brutal again today. Every fly ball is an adventure, which didn’t do Gonzalez any favors.
Gonzalez threw 46 pitches, 30 for strikes, before Jim Johnson took over in the third inning. Thirty of those pitches came in the second.
Gonzalez, whose fastball was 90-92 mph today, walked the leadoff hitter in both innings on six pitches. Matt Hague had an RBI double in the second, and Clint Barmes, Alex Preley and Jose Tabata contributed RBI singles. Tabata was thrown out at second base to end the inning.
Gonzalez threw 16 pitches in the first inning, 10 for strikes, and overcame a leadoff walk to catcher Russell Martin. He struck out Tabata on a 91 mph fastball and induced two ground balls to first baseman Chris Davis.
In his first outing on March 3 against Philadelphia, Gonzalez walked a batter and struck out two in two scoreless innings at Ed Smith Stadium. He wasn’t as sharp today, either falling behind hitters or failing to put them away quickly after getting ahead.
Johnson allowed a single to Jerry Sands in the third inning. He retired two batters on ground balls to first base and another on a fly ball to left field.
This is Johnson’s first official outing. He gave up an unearned run to Team Spain.
Darren O’Day is warming in the Orioles’ bullpen.
Update: Ryan Flaherty followed Manny Machado’s walk in the third inning with a two-run homer to right field to reduce Pittsburgh’s lead to 4-2.
Flaherty connected off Gerrit Cole, the Pirates’ top pitching prospect.
O’Day allowed a leadoff single in the fourth, but nothing else. He struck out a batter.
Mark Hendrickson replaced him and struck out two in a routine fifth inning.
Gonzalez met with a small group of reporters outside the Orioles’ clubhouse.
“I felt great in the ‘pen. Just one of those days,” he said. “Things weren’t working when I went on the field. Off-speed wasn’t there, my fastball was up. (Matt) Wieters tried to do his best, calming me down, staying back. The wind was bad today. I thought McLouth had that ball, but it was tough. It’s not easy when the wind like that’s not going your way.”
Gonzalez couldn’t locate the way he normally does.
“It’s 0-2, curveball, now it’s second and third,” he said. “Tried to spike that and it stayed up and guy got a piece of it and did a good job hitting it into center field. Just got to work on things like that next time.”
Since he’s only pitched twice in games, Gonzalez is still shaking off some of the rust that’s accumulated.
“A little bit,” he said. “Still trying to find out how to finish your pitches and stuff like that, but I’m not too worried about that. Just got to keep working and keep grinding.”