CHICAGO - Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman had an outing where he was dominant at times, but it didn’t lead to a win tonight. The Chicago White Sox came back with three runs in the last of the eighth to beat the Orioles 3-2.
The Orioles have scored just five runs in this series and 18 in the last seven games as they fall to 15-33 overall and 5-20 on the road. They failed to win two straight road games for what would have been just the second time on the year.
Leading 2-0, reliever Mychal Givens, who got the last two outs of the seventh, took the mound in the last of the eighth. Daniel Palka led off with a fly ball near the right-field line that popped out of Mark Trumbo’s glove after a long run and Palka was credited with a triple. Welington Castillo’s single pulled Chicago within 2-1. A strikeout, walk and single followed to load the bases with one down. Richard Bleier came on and Yoan Moncada’s sac fly tied it at 2-2. Batting next, Yolmer Sanchez singled to right for the lead. Givens threw 28 pitches last night and 33 tonight.
So it was a tough-luck no-decision for Gausman. The Orioles right-hander set a career-high tonight getting 25 swings and misses and his fastball touched 99 mph.
Gausman was coming off an outing where he allowed two homers and six runs over 4 2/3 at Fenway Park. Plus the Red Sox had five steals while he was in the game. But the other Sox could not steal a run off him tonight.
Over 6 1/3 innings, he gave up nine hits, but Chicago went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position against him. He walked one and tied his career-high with 10 strikeouts. He got seven of his strikeouts on split-finger fastballs, getting 17 swings and misses while using that pitch 41 times. Gausman has an ERA of 3.48 through 10 starts. Over his last six starts, his ERA is 2.41 and this was his sixth quality start.
He kept pitching out of trouble and his biggest escape act came in the last of the sixth. After Palka singled, the former Oriole, Castillo, doubled to put runners on second and third with no outs. But Gausman then fanned Leury Garcia looking at a 97 mph heater. He fanned Jose Ròndón swinging at a split. He then blew a 99 mph fastball - his best velocity of the year - by No. 9 hitter Adam Engel to put up another zero. He threw consecutive fastballs at 96, 97 and 99 mph to get Engel.
The Orioles took a 2-0 lead in the second. Jonathan Schoop, who was 3-for-23 his past six games, led off with a single to left. After Chris Davis struck out, Pedro Álvarez walked. Then Trumbo drilled a double to left scoring Schoop and sending Álvarez to third to make it 1-0. Trumbo got his eighth RBI on a ball he hit 113.4 mph into the left-field corner. Batting next, Jace Peterson grounded out to second to score a run for the 2-0 lead.
But in the end this lead and game got away from the Orioles. The offense didn’t produce enough runs and the bullpen couldn’t hold a lead for Gausman, who certainly deserved a better fate.
Trumbo on the play in the right field corner in the eighth and a frustrating loss: “I gave it what I had. That’s everything I’ve got. It sure would have been nice to catch it, but that was the best effort I can give. Ideally, we could get out of that a lot cleaner. But credit to them. They really battled tonight. They did some nice things as well, and we came up a little short.”
Trumbo on Gausman: “He was nasty tonight. That was really good - spotting the fastball, and the split-finger was falling off the table. That was really encouraging.”
Gausman on getting out of the big jam in the sixth: “You know, just bear down. I knew I had some good matchups coming up to the plate. Especially on Engel the last guy. I called Chance (Sisco) out and said, ‘Hey, let’s go after this guy. Let’s throw all fastballs up this whole at-bat. I knew they were going to be pretty aggressive and tried to use that to my advantage.”
Gausman on the swings and misses on the split: “It was probably one of my better ones I’ve had in the big leagues. Felt like I could throw it whenever I wanted to when I got in a tight situation and I did. It was a big pitch for me. Yeah, tonight it was probably one of the best its been....Had a really good feel for my fastball and was able to throw it consistently where I needed to. I threw some really good sliders. Really there was just one to Welly (Castillo) that stayed in the zone and he put a good swing on it.”
Manager Buck Showalter on using Bleier and Givens on back-to-back nights: “Compared to who? We don’t have Darren (O’Day), we don’t have Zach (Britton). Those are our best options right now and they’ve done a good job for us.”
Showalter on the Trumbo play in right and his four hits tonight: “It’s a tough play. It’s one Mark is capable of making. The one that hurt us was the broken-bat jam shot by Castillo. That was frustrating for Mike and us. Trum’s last two or three games, you can tell, he’s in a good place right now and he gave us a chance there in the end.”
Showalter on Gausman’s split being so good: “He had a good slider too tonight. He was solid. We’re just not scoring runs. That is pretty much the story. He pitched real well and the margin of error was real fine.”