Gonzalez goes five again, Pearce goes yard again (O’s lose 4-2)

Miguel Gonzalez has worked five innings in each of his two starts since coming off the disabled list, and he left tonight’s game with the the White Sox ahead 3-0.

Steve Pearce broke up Jose Quintana’s shutout bid with a leadoff home run in the bottom of the sixth. In his last seven games, Pearce is 13-for-27 with four doubles, three home runs, eight RBIs, six walks and seven runs scored.

Is that good?

Gonzalez knows he needs to be better.

Gonzalez is charged with three runs and nine hits over five innings, with three walks, one strikeout and a home run. He threw 87 pitches, 52 for strikes.

The 87 pitches is the third-lowest total for Gonzalez this season. He threw 78 in 3 1/3 innings and 85 in six innings in his first two starts of the season.

In two starts since coming off the disabled list, Gonzalez has allowed seven runs and 17 hits in 10 innings, with five walks, six strikeouts and three home runs.

Tonight’s damage could have been a lot worse. The White Sox loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth on two singles and a walk. T.J. McFarland warmed in the bullpen, but manager Buck Showalter stuck with Gonzalez, who induced a popup from Alexei Ramirez and a double-play grounder from Dayan Viciedo.

Viciedo was 3-for-4 lifetime against Gonzalez.

So, what happens next? I’m not talking about tonight, though the Orioles could use a few more runs here. When asked later tonight to critique Gonzalez, Showalter will point out the lack of offense.

The Orioles will return to a six-man rotation with Kevin Gausman starting Game 1 of Friday night’s doubleheader against the Rays at Camden Yards. Gausman must be optioned afterward, but he can return in time to take his next turn.

Gonzalez has a minor league option. He also could be moved to the bullpen as a right-handed long man. Or he could remain in the rotation. Those are the choices.

Showalter can do lots of tweaking with the rotation due to Thursday’s off-day.

Ubaldo Jimenez is starting Wednesday night’s series finale against the White Sox. Bud Norris is scheduled to pitch Game 2 of the doubleheader unless the groin tightness pushes him back to Saturday, in which case Chris Tillman would make the start.

If Norris is OK, Tillman would start Saturday.

Update: Tough night behind the plate for Caleb Joseph. The White Sox have stolen two bases, and he’s committed an error and been charged with a passed ball.

Joseph also missed the tag on Alexei Ramirez, who scored in the eighth inning on Alejandro De Aza’s grounder to second base despite Jonathan Schoop’s throw arriving ahead of him. The run off Tommy Hunter is unearned.

Update II: No walk-off win for the Orioles tonight. They lose to the White Sox 4-2 before 20,596 at Camden Yards.

Chris Davis and Manny Machado singled in the ninth, and Delmon Young came through with a pinch-hit RBI single off Ronald Belisario to reduce Chicago’s lead to 4-2. Belisario served up Davis’ walk-off home run last night.

Ryan Flaherty, pinch-hitting for Joseph, bounced into a game-ending double play.

T.J. McFarland tossed two scoreless innings. He’s allowed one run in 14 2/3 innings this month. And Zach Britton retired the side in order in the ninth.

The Orioles’ winning streak ends at three games. They’re 40-36 this season.

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