Game blog: It's Gonzalez against Vargas in Game 4

KANSAS CITY - With their season one loss away from ending, the Orioles play at Kansas City this afternoon in Game 4 of the American League Championship Series. The Royals have posted wins by 8-6 in 10 innings, by 6-4 and by 2-1 last night to move to within one win of their first World Series since winning it all in 1985. On the mound today, Miguel Gonzalez (10-9, 3.23 ERA) makes his first start of this postseason for the Orioles and opposes left-hander Jason Vargas (11-10, 3.71 ERA). Gonzalez has not pitched since Sept. 28, the final day of the regular season when he pitched five scoreless innings at Toronto. gonzalez-miguel-pitch-grey-sidebar.jpgGonzalez had a strong finish, allowing two earned runs or less in six of his last eight starts, going 5-3 with a 1.75 ERA. In 13 starts since July 1, he went 6-4 with a 2.09 ERA. The Orioles went 14-12 this season when Gonzalez started and are 40-29 in his starts since 2012. He went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in one start this season against the Royals and is 1-2 with a 4.82 ERA in three career starts. In his only previous playoff start, in the 2012 American League Division Series against the Yankees, Gonzalez pitched a gem. Over seven innings, he gave up just five hits and one run with no walks and eight strikeouts. Vargas had a very poor September for the Royals, going 1-3 with a 6.57 ERA. In his last three regular season starts, he gave up 14 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings. But then he pitched much better in Game 1 of the ALDS against the Angels. In six innings, he gave up just three hits and two runs in getting a no-decision. Vargas did not face the O's this year, but has outstanding career numbers against Baltimore. He is 2-3 with a 1.94 ERA in eight starts. In 55 2/3 innings, the O's have hit just three homers with a batting average of .224 and an OPS of .589 against Vargas. The Orioles trail a playoff series 3-0 for the first time in club history. In baseball history, just one of 33 teams trailing 3-0 has come back to win the series. That was the 2004 Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees in the ALCS. The Orioles' three hits last night were their fewest in a playoff game since they also collected three in Game 3 of the 1996 ALCS. The O's have been two-hit on three separate occasions in their postseason history (the last time being in Game 3 of the 1974 ALCS against Oakland). Orioles in the ALCS: * Nick Markakis - 4-for-15 with a double * Alejandro De Aza - 4-for-13 with an RBI * Adam Jones - 3-for-14 with a homer and three RBIs * Nelson Cruz - 4-for-13 with two RBIs * Steve Pearce - 1-for-13 with a double * J.J. Hardy - 2-for-11 with an RBI * Ryan Flaherty - 3-for-9 with two RBIs * Nick Hundley - 1-for-7 * Caleb Joseph - 2-for-3 with an RBI * Delmon Young - 1-for-1 with an RBI * Jonathan Schoop - 1-for-10

Orioles fall behind in first inning (O's trail 2-1...
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