PITTSBURGH - The Orioles broke out a lineup tonight that included three rookie outfielders for the first time in 44 years. A veteran outfielder on the other side struck the biggest blows.
Andrew McCutchen hit his first grand slam in nine major league seasons and finished with eight RBIs, and Kevin Gausman’s final start of 2017 ended with the Orioles losing to the Pirates 10-1 before an announced crowd of 19,318 at PNC Park.
Gausman allowed two runs in the first inning on RBI doubles by McCutchen and Josh Bell. The Pirates loaded the bases in the second on a double and two walks, and McCutchen earned a curtain call.
Fans demanded one more in the sixth inning after Jimmy Yacabonis surrendered a three-run homer to McCutchen that increased the lead to 10-1.
The Orioles are saddled with another loss as the curtain drops on their season. They’re 75-83 overall and 2-1 against the Pirates. The Blue Jays are winning in Boston and can move into a fourth-place tie.
McCutchen’s grand slam came in his 1,342nd career game. He’s the first Pirates player with eight RBIs since Jason Bay on July 2, 2004.
Seth Smith pitch-hit for Gausman in the top of the fifth with the Orioles behind 6-0. Gausman allowed six runs and five hits in four innings, with two walks, five strikeouts and a hit batter. He finished with a 4.81 ERA in 179 2/3 innings.
Trevor Williams didn’t allow a hit until Trey Mancini’s double with two outs in the top of the fourth inning. Mancini extended his hitting streak to 15 games.
Mancini was part of the rookie outfield trio, joining Austin Hays and Rule 5 pick Anthony Santander, who singled in the fifth. According to STATS Research, the Orioles hadn’t started three rookie outfielders in the same game since Al Bumbry, Rich Coggins and Jim Fuller on Sept. 27, 1973 against the Tigers.
Bumbry played left field that night, though most of his starts would come in center. He was named the American League’s Rookie of the Year, with Coggins placing sixth.
In case you’re curious about the rest of the lineup or simply need a distraction from tonight’s game, it read as follows:
Al Bumbry LF
Rich Coggins CF
Don Baylor 1B
Jim Fuller RF
Brooks Robinson 3B
Terry Crowley DH
Bobby Grich 2B
Mark Belanger SS
Sergio Robles C
Wayne Garland RHP
The Orioles lost 5-2 before an announced crowd of 4,719 at Memorial Stadium to lower their record to 95-63. This year’s team should be so unfortunate.
Chris Davis broke up Williams’ shutout bid with his 26th home run with two outs in the top of the sixth inning.
Yacabonis loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, but he gave up only one run on Gregory Polanco’s fielder’s choice grounder. Davis’ home run reduced the lead to 7-1.
A pair of two-out singles in the sixth were followed by McCutchen’s second home run. He went 4-for-4, missing the cycle by a triple, and received a final ovation after manager Clint Hurdle removed him from center field before the top of the seventh.
Former Orioles farmhand Steven Brault, part of the Travis Snider trade, tossed three scoreless innings for his first major league save.
Manager Buck Showalter on Gausman’s struggles: “Just command. He elevated some balls. Obviously wasn’t his best. I’m not going to sit here ... He’s pitched some good baseball for us. Tonight wasn’t one of those.”
Showalter on Gausman’s command issues: “I don’t want to oversimplify. There’s a lot of things that go into pitching well. It’s not that simple. You do know that’s a prerequisite for success up here and that’s kind of what their pitcher did tonight. But if you ask me one thing, that’s really what he grasped for was command of the fastball and everything else came into play. It can be good that he knows what he’s got to do to be successful. He knows when he gets out of whack and I think young pitchers at this level learn not to ... just because the results are there sometimes, there are some things you get away with that you know you’re going to pay the price for down the road if you don’t straighten it out.”
Showalter on Gausman not putting away hitters: “I hate to keep ... it’s a command issue. You’re trying to go down and away and you throw it middle middle, you’re going to pay a price to hitters at this level. Kevin’s shown that he’s very capable of pitching very solidly at this level. I’ve said many times, some of the best development of players happens in the off-season. You step back and you go, ‘OK, here’s reality.’ Because sometimes at this time of year reality doesn’t quite hit you like it will in about a month.”
Showalter on all-rookie outfield: “Tomorrow might be the second time. I wish we couldn’t play them, but that would require different circumstances in the won-loss record. That was nothing by design. It’s just our best foot for us to be a better organization as we go forward. So, we’ll see what tomorrow brings. But I didn’t really think about it until you brought it up. Give me another one and I’ll break that record. Give me a little heads-up on something else I can do. Give you a nice note. I know you’re searching for them right now.”
Gausman on command issues: “Yeah, command and just not being able to put guys away. Got guys 0-2, 1-2 a lot and I ended up walking some guys that I had 0-2. That’s the frustrating part. I didn’t give up very many hard-hit balls except for the two that McCutchen hit. That was the difference, obviously. Pretty frustrating. Feeling like I’ve been getting in a groove lately, but to go out there and only go four innings, not very good.”
Gausman on his season: “Not very good all around. Didn’t go deep into ball games. Not many quality starts. Obviously, I’m very frustrated. And with the season I had last year and obviously starting opening day. I haven’t been a guy that should have gotten that right this year. It’s kind of frustrating. But I don’t know. I might have one more, so just keep on grinding and like I said, I feel like I’ve been throwing the ball well, so that’s what makes it even more frustrating.”
Santander (via translator Ramon Alarcon) on enjoyment of getting start: “Very well, thanks to God. All of these days I’ve been working out, practicing, just training for this moment and trying to take advantage of it.”
Santander on what he’s learning: “Watching the veteran guys, just the way they go about their business, their preparation, trying to learn from them and trying to get ready whenever it’s needed for me to go into the lineup, to go into the game and contribute.”
Santander on all-rookie outfield: “It’s definitely a great thing, a great chemistry among us, just looking for the opportunity for us to start on a regular basis. Hopefully, it’s soon.”