Scott Feldman took the mound in the ninth inning tonight with Jim Johnson and Brian Matusz warming in the Orioles bullpen. He hadn’t allowed a run. His pitch count was up to 101. But he was staying in the game.
Manager Buck Showalter was going to let Feldman try for a complete-game shutout, but he also had two relievers ready to match up if the right-hander ran into trouble.
It wasn’t necessary. Feldman retired the White Sox in order to cap a 4-0 victory at Camden Yards.
Feldman turned in the Orioles’ first complete game since Jason Hammel threw one on June 16, 2012 in Atlanta. That was also their last complete-game shutout.
Gordon Beckham lined to second on Feldman’s first pitch of the inning. Jeff Keppinger flied to right and Adam Dunn flied to center.
Five pitches, and Feldman was headed to the clubhouse with his first career shutout.
Feldman has allowed two runs in his last three starts covering 21 innings. He took the loss in New York in his last outing despite allowing only one run in seven innings, the Yankees’ Ivan Nova besting him with a three-hit shutout.
Tonight, Feldman allowed five hits, walked one and struck out three. He didn’t give up a hit after catcher Josh Phegley’s single with two outs in the fifth.
Paul Konerko walked with one out in the seventh, the only other baserunner against Feldman.
There was a little drama after Matt Wieters was retired to end the bottom of the eighth. Feldman didn’t immediately come out of the dugout. The bullpen gate swung open, but no reliever emerged.
Finally, Feldman walked up the steps as the crowd applauded. The ovation would eventually grow louder.