Showalter on Game 2 starter and more

Orioles manager Buck Showalter confirmed tonight that Bud Norris will start Game 2 of the American League Championship Series on Saturday at Camden Yards.

Showalter chose Norris over left-hander Wei-Yin Chen. He actually made the decision before an 8-6, 10-inning loss to the Royals in Game 1.

Chen is expected to start Game 3, followed by Miguel Gonzalez in Game 4, but everything is subject to change.

ALCS-Buck-presser.jpg“We kept (Norris) around like we might need him,” Showalter said. “He was trying to beat the traffic out. I told him to check with me before he left. I said, ‘You can shower at home. Just be standing by the door and beat the traffic out after the last pitch.’ So Delmon (Young) and the guys in the 10th made him stay around a little longer.

“It’s supposed to rain until 2 tomorrow, so (we’ll) probably box BP again, but we should have better weather by 4.”

The Royals hit the fewest home runs in the majors this season, but they belted three tonight, including a pair in the 10th inning. The Orioles swiped the fewest bases, but they executed a double steal in the sixth.

That’s why you play the games, as Showalter likes to say.

“They’ve been hitting home runs lately,” Showalter said. “It is what it is. It was a good ballgame, except the Orioles didn’t win. It sure was entertaining. I’m sure it was a lot drier where you all were. Just glad it wasn’t too bad for the fans, but didn’t like the way it ended.

“I’m really proud of the way our guys battled back. The challenge, especially with (James) Shields out there. But strung some at-bats together and got back in it. Some good things. Won’t forget those.”

Zach Britton had a forgettable ninth inning, walking the bases loaded with no outs. The Orioles escaped the jam and kept the game tied.

Was Britton fatigued from an emotional week that included the birth of his son in California?

“Well, that would be convenient,” Showalter said. “I don’t know. He’s had a great year for us, and didn’t give up any runs tonight. I look at it half full.

“Sometimes, you want something too much. I think everybody’s amped up. There’s a lot of things going on there. Imagine sitting in that bullpen for 17 hours it seemed like. He made a big pitch to (Eric) Hosmer. A lot of guys would have pulled the dirt around them. Darren (O’Day) came in and got us a big double play ball.

“We hit a guy and walked six or seven. That presented a real challenge for us.”

O’Day served up a tiebreaking home run to Alex Gordon leading off the top of the 10th.

“They’re good hitters,” Showalter said. “Was there no concern after he got a big double play ball off a really good hitter in (Billy) Butler? They’re good hitters and they’re good pitchers and sometimes it doesn’t work out. That throw out everything good he’s done the previous inning, and really for two or three seasons? Those guys that all pitched tonight and played is the reason we’re sitting here playing a seven-game series for the American League championship and it will continue tomorrow.”

Showalter let O’Day face Gordon rather than bring in left-hander Brian Matusz, who later served up a two-run homer to Mike Moustakas.

“You’ve got good lineups this time of year,” Showalter said. “You’re just picking poison and hoping it works out for you. Just like Ned (Yost) does.

“That’s what’s made our guys so effective. We’ve been able to spread the load around. Everybody has had their success on both sides of the plate, and that’s unusual. At that time in the game, too, your options aren’t near what they were earlier.

“A good thing tonight, we got a lot of work in for a guy who hadn’t had a ball in their hand for four, five, six, seven days. I’ll take that as a somewhat positive.”

Starter Chris Tillman lost his command in the third inning after throwing 20 of 25 pitches for strikes in the first two frames. He lasted only 4 1/3 innings.

Gordon blooped a three-run double to right field in the third.

“I think the strength factor of players at the major league level ... broke his bat,” Showalter said. “He hit it in a good spot and we did that some, too. You can’t say it was one-sided.

“Tilly made a good pitch there, but a big, strong hitter put it in a place where we couldn’t catch it. He didn’t exactly square it up. I wish we could have handled the relay a little better. We could have gotten a cheap out there.”

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