NEW YORK - As I pointed out earlier, Miguel Gonzalez had allowed eight earned runs in five career starts in the Bronx covering 32 2/3 innings. Tonight, he gave up seven in four-plus innings.
Gonzalez couldn’t get the ball down, as he pointed out more than once during his postgame session with the media. He also was adjusting to a schedule that kept him from starting since Aug. 20.
Gonzalez was cruising through the third, facing the minimum number of batters. Alfonso Soriano hit a two-run homer in the fourth and Gonzalez couldn’t record an out in the fifth, giving up five straight hits - four for extra-bases - and walking the last batter before T.J. McFarland replaced him.
“I don’t know. I can’t even explain it,” he said. “It was a tough one. Tough one. First couple of innings, everything was moving well. All of a sudden in the fourth inning, I make a good pitch to Soriano. You’ve got to tip your hat sometimes. He went the other way with it.”
The damage in the fifth included Ichiro Suzuki’s two-run shot to right. Both home runs came on the first pitch from Gonzalez.
“I think Ichiro, he was waiting for that pitch, and Soriano, he’s good going the opposite way and I understand that,” Gonzalez said. “First pitch was a slider and it just stayed up. The most important thing for myself is just bringing the ball down.
“You learn from your mistakes. You’ve got to keep working and in between starts I’m going to do the best I can to bring the ball down and to be successful. I mean, if you leave a ball up, it’s going to be a little tougher for pitchers. Anyone can tell you. No matter what you have, you leave the ball up, you’re going to be in trouble.”
What about his schedule, which included two relief appearances before last night?
“The good thing was I faced a couple hitters in Boston and also at home. I think that helped a little bit,” he said. “That’s what I wanted to do, also. I didn’t want to just throw in the bullpen and stuff like that. I think you’ve just got to go out there and minimize the damage when you’re out there.”
Where do the Orioles go from here? And I don’t mean Cleveland.
“Keep grinding,” Gonzalez said. “Our team’s been there the whole time this year - offense, defense. I think we’ve been doing a pretty good job on that. I think as starters, we just need to go a little bit deeper, and I’m talking about myself, because the past couple games have been a little tough on me. Just got to minimize when there’s big innings, just minimize when you need to.”
The fifth inning completely got away from Gonzalez.
“This one was a tough one to swallow,” he said. “I’ve just got to keep my head up, keep working hard, and try to forget about this one as quick as possible so I can come out and help the team out and win some ballgames.
“Sometimes the game is going to speed up on you. It’s going to happen. It’s going to happen that way. Not all the times you’re going to go out there and perform well. Like I said, I was feeling well at the beginning. Toward the end, I was leaving balls up.”
And leaving this game early.
Perhaps he will do better with less rest.
“That will probably work out a little better,” he said. “Even last year, (manager Buck Showalter) was moving me around as much as possible. This year, he was doing the same thing. He knows what he’s doing. I’ll try and forget about this one and go out there next time and try and do my best.”
The Orioles are now 7 1/2 games behind the Red Sox in the American League East. They’re 1-3 on this road trip.
Right fielder Nick Markakis, who had three hits tonight, also suggested that the Orioles “move to the next day.”
“You can’t change what’s happened,” he said. “All of us are focused on tomorrow and coming out tomorrow and getting a W.
“We’ve got a lot of baseball left. We’ve got, what, 30 (28) games left? It’s a tight division, a tight race. We’re not out of it until they say we’re out of it. So we’re going to take that mentality, put everything else behind us and move to the next day.
“People can say what they want. Until Game 162 is played, everybody has got a chance. I like our chances, I like the position we’re in. We do well under pressure. We know what we’re up against. We’ve just got to keep fighting. We still have a lot of baseball left. Anything can happen in this game.”
How can the Orioles go on run?
“Play good baseball,” Markakis said. “Pitch, play good defense and hit. Those are the three key things. We need to get back on the same page. It’s going to be a challenge, and everyone in this clubhouse is looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun. This is a game and the biggest thing is to go out there, have fun and do what we need to do.”