Lost a bit in the O’s bullpen meltdown Saturday night was that Brian Matusz did not give up a run over seven innings vs. Cleveland.
Matusz was coming off his worst start of the year, when he gave up six runs last Sunday vs. Minnesota. But he was not necessarily motivated by that effort on Saturday, he said.
But he pitched shutout ball and it was the first time in 16 career Major League starts that he did not allow a single run.
“I forgot about the last start. I don’t think about that. For me, I worked hard these last six days to prepare for this start. I figured some things out. Today was a start where I had four pitches to work with. I didn’t have that in the past.”
Matusz gave up seven hits with four walks and six strikeouts and lowered his ERA to 4.18.
He walked the number eight and nine hitters leading off the seventh, but got out of that jam to preserve at that time a 1-0 edge.
“I felt good going into the seventh. But mentally I wasn’t able to focus in those first few hitters. But once the runners got on base, I was able to focus in and was able to make some good pitches and get out of it.”
In his last two starts, hitters eight and nine are 6 for 8 with two walks and four runs scored vs. Matusz.
But he was in line for his third win until Alfredo Simon suffered a blown save in the ninth.
“Simon has done a great job for us this year. He’s five for five in saves coming up to today. Some days you don’t have your best stuff, it happens to all of us,” Matusz said.
After Simon’s struggles, Cla Meredith came on and gave up four more runs as Cleveland plated eight runs in the ninth frame.
“I’ve got to come out with a little more aggression right there. Walking Hafner on 3-2 like that, it’s not what you want to do in that spot. I came out a little flat and things snowballed on me,” Meredith said as his ERA ballooned from 1.80 to 5.06.
Some other notes from Saturday night:
*The Orioles bullpen had pitched to an ERA of 1.65 over its previous 12 games, before giving up eight runs and six hits over two innings Saturday. The bullpen ERA on the year rose from 3.75 to 4.38.
*The eight runs allowed was the most by the O’s since an 8-run 8th by the Yankees last September 13.
*Ty Wigginton hit two solo homers for his third multi-homer game of the year and 12th of his career. He now has 12 homers, one more than the 11 he hit all of last year in 292 fewer at bats.
Wigginton is 10 for 23 (.435) during a six-game hitting streak and eight of his last 14 hits have gone for extra bases with four doubles and four homers.
*Luke Scott went 0 for 3, ending a five-game batting streak during which he was 9 for 20 with three homers and 8 RBI.
Matt Wieters is 0 for 8 over his last three games and has just 1 RBI over his last 11 games. Cesar Izturis had one hit Saturday, but has just three hits over his last 36 at bats.