Showalter speaks after 11-0 loss

The Orioles suffered their fifth shutout of the season tonight and their second of the homestand. They were 7-0 all-time against the Astros at home.

Tonight marked the first time that Miguel Gonzalez lost consecutive decisions in 34 career starts, leaving him tied with Ken Dixon for the franchise record. Gonzalez allowed nine runs (four earned) and nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. His issue?

“Command,” manager Buck Showalter said following an 11-0 loss. “I think he threw about 68 pitches last time out, an extra days rest. I was surprised. I thought he’d be a little better tonight. He wasn’t. Breaking ball wasn’t very crisp and command of his fastball was an issue for him most of the night. Very unlike Miguel. He’ll be better next time out.”

Gonzalez didn’t have his splitter working for the second consecutive outing.

“It’s a pitch that he has most of the time,” Showalter said. “He’s survived and pitched well when he didn’t have it. Most of the times you go back to an outing like that, it’s command of the fastball, because once you show that, then it opens up a lot of things to you and you don’t have to be too perfect. His slider was a little loose tonight, so to speak.”

The offense still can’t break loose.

“We haven’t swung the bats real well as of late, kind of collectively,” Showalter said. “You don’t say that’s just one of those things that’s going to happen. You want to shorten it up and get back to what we’re capable of. Tomorrow’s an opportunity to do that.”

J.J. Hardy’s two-out fielding error in the fourth led to five unearned runs.

“That didn’t beat us,” Showalter said. “J.J. would be the last to make an excuse and I could make a couple for him, but I’m not going to insult him by doing that. There’s a couple reasons there. He’s as good as there is. I don’t even think twice about it.”

Showalter explained his decision to start newly acquired Bud Norris on Thursday night.

“He had an extra day when he was supposed to pitch the first day, and he’s had another extra day,” Showalter said. “He needs to get on the mound, he needs to get the ball in his hand. You have diminishing returns with starters when you give them too much rest. It’s time. And our guys can always benefit. Tilly (Chris Tillman) has had a couple elongated outings out of his own doing by pitching well. I don’t want Bud to wait around that long.”

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