You know many Orioles fans had to be holding their breath as they have seen Gonzalez struggle for much of his two seasons on the team.
Brought here to serve as a closer, he had blown three of four previous saves chances in an O’s uniform. He had just one save chance this year and didn’t close out that May 10 game with Seattle.
But this time, Gonzo got Grady Sizemore to ground out to first, stranding the tying run at second, as the game ended and so did the Orioles’ nine-game losing streak.
“It is always a good feeling when you go out there,” Gonzalez said. “But you are feeling for your boy KG (Kevin Gregg) also, he struggled a bit today and as a bullpen guy you always feel for the guys.”
In case you hadn’t noticed, since pitching to an ERA of 7.79 in April and May of this year, Gonzo has an ERA of 2.35 and batting average against of just .241 in 15 games since June 1st.
“I’ve just been getting more repititions. Getting out there more consistently. I feel good, body feels good and when you feel good, you throw good,” he said of his improvement.
The Orioles entered the ninth inning with what looked like a comfortable 6-2 lead. But Gregg walked the bases loaded and soon it was 6-5 and Gonzalez was on his way to the mound where he would pick up just his second save as an Oriole.
“You are locked in until the game is over in the bullpen,” Gonzalez said. “You never know what is going to happen. Something crazy like this (Cleveland’s comeback). It’s one of those things where you have to be ready for any situation.
“Once I got called into the game I said ‘we are going to win no matter what.’ No if ands or butts, we had to win.”
Gonzalez’s turnaround over those last 15 games has dropped his ERA on the year from 7.79 to 5.23.
He pitched to an ERA of 1.64 in nine June games and, on the season, has allowed a batting average of just .205 when pitching with runners in scoring position.