Not only did Miguel Gonzalez pitch the Orioles past the Texas Rangers tonight, but it was revealed after the game that he did so about 30 minutes after dealing with some pregame back spasms.
“Yeah, it was not that bad, just a little bit,” Gonzalez said. “They were a little curious about it, but I told them I was feeling good. I was fine. Treat it real quick and I went out there and wasn’t thinking too much about it.
“It’s new. Just happened today about 30 minutes before the game. As soon as I started warming up I felt better. It just loosened up afterwards.”
It loosened up enough for Gonzalez to record his seventh straight quality start and allow just one run over 6 2/3 innings as the O’s beat Texas 3-1. Over his last seven starts, Gonzalez is 5-1 with an ERA of 2.49 and seven consecutive quality starts.
Did he ever think there was a chance he would not be able to make tonight’s start?
“No I wasn’t worried about it,” he said. “I told myself I’m ready to go, I wanted to be out there. I wanted to make my pitches and give my team a chance to win.”
He recorded his 12th quality start in his 16 outings, improving to 7-3 with an ERA of 3.48 on the year. What has been the key for him to begin to get deeper in games?
“Confidence. This team was battling the whole time with a lot of foul balls,” Gonzalez said. “I felt my splitty (split-finger fastball) wasn’t great today, but my curveball was there and also my slider. That helped me out. (Matt Wieters) knows what he’s doing, trying to keep guys off-balance and I thought it was a great game overall.”
The Orioles have now won 12 straight Gonzalez home starts, dating to Aug. 10, 2012. It is the fourth-longest streak in O’s history behind Mike Flanagan, who had streaks of 16 and 15 in a row, and Mike Cuellar at 14 in a row.
Meanwhile, Chris Davis, who was 1-for-24 with 13 strikeouts over his previous seven games, changed that around with a solo homer to give the O’s their first run in the second inning.
“I was just glad to get a hit,” he said. “Tired of striking out, grounding out and breaking bats. That went on long enough. I talked earlier today about trying to be more patient and selective. Of course, after the home run I go back to swinging at everything. Some lessons are harder to learn than others.”
Last year, Davis set career highs with 33 homers and 85 RBIs. After his homer tonight, he now has 34 and 86.
“That is definitely something you reflect on in the offseason. There is way too much baseball to play,” he said about setting the new career marks.
“It was huge (to get a split of the series). With (Wei-Yin) Chen last night and Miggy tonight throwing the ball really well. Good to see both those guys throwing well. He’s a guy (Gonzalez) that we all know how special he is and how good he can be.”
Brian Roberts talked about hitting his second homer and Gonzalez’s strong outing.
“Anytime you hit a home run, it’s fun. But most importantly, we got back-to-back great starts. Gonzo was phenomenal battling back spams. In the training room before the game, I wasn’t sure if he was even going to make it out,” Roberts said. “To pitch that way against that team, that is pretty good work.
“It was not a must-win situation, but certainly the last two games were big for us. You don’t want to lose three of four at home to a team you may wind up fighting with for a playoff spot.”