Pitching on 10 days’ rest and in a big game to start a three-game series, Miguel Gonzalez was neither rusty or rattled. He was just excellent.
Gonzalez retired the first nine batters he faced and threw seven scoreless innings tonight as the Orioles beat the Yankees 6-1 to move within two games of first place in the AL East.
Now 73-58, the Orioles improved to 15 games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 1997 season.
Gonzalez pitched out of a two on and no out jam in the sixth, getting three key outs against the top of the Yankees’ order. He allowed just four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts. Gonzalez had just 55 pitches through the fifth and 97 for the game.
He improves to 6-3 with a 3.31 ERA on the year and the Orioles are 7-3 in his 10 starts. In his five August starts, he is 3-1 with an ERA of 1.91.
In his two starts against the Yankees - both in New York - he has allowed just 10 hits and four runs over 13 2/3 innings.
The Orioles are now 54-8 when they get a quality start this year and 31-2 when their starter pitches seven innings or more.
The Orioles took a 3-0 lead against Hiroki Kuroda in the top of the second. Adam Jones and Matt Wieters led off with singles and a Chris Davis sac fly made it 1-0. Mark Reynolds followed with a two-run homer to left that reached the second deck at Yankee Stadium. It was Reynolds’ first homer since Aug. 16 and he had gone 12 games without an RBI.
Reynolds hit his second homer of the game, a solo shot off Derek Lowe in the ninth, to make it a 5-0 lead.
The O’s lead grew to 4-0 on J.J. Hardy’s solo homer to left in the sixth. It was his 18th homer of the season. Kuroda took the loss. He was 4-2 with a 1.66 ERA over his previous eight starts and 3-1 with an ERA of 0.94 over his last five home starts.
The Orioles are now 6-6 on the season against New York. They improve to 5-2 on the year at Yankee Stadium and they have won six of the last eight games between the teams.
The Orioles have won six of their last seven, nine of 12, 18 of 25 and 27 of the last 41 games. They are now 38-30 on the road and 27-20 against the AL East.
The O’s took Game 1 of this weekend series and look to make it two in row Saturday afternoon at 1:05 p.m.