Home runs hound Orioles again in 5-1 loss (Tillman starts Sunday)

Kevin Gausman lowered his head tonight and slapped his right hand against his thigh as he made the slow walk toward the home dugout. He was working on a three-hitter through three innings. Frustration came from the three home runs that accounted for those hits.

Gausman knew a home run per inning was a poor ratio. He didn’t need a mathematics degree from LSU to figure it out.

The Angels kept delivering the lesson, making it four home runs in four innings and giving them nine in 13. Numbers were flying like baseballs.

Unable to duplicate last night’s dramatics, the Orioles failed to keep pace with the Angels and lost 5-1 before an announced crowd of 43,929 at Camden Yards.

The game was interrupted for 40 minutes by rain after the bottom of the seventh inning - the 16th delay at Camden Yards this season.

The Orioles are 60-63 overall and still unable to go on an extended run. Since winning three straight from Aug. 5-7, they’ve lost two, won one, lost one, won one, lost one, won one, lost two and won one.

Last night’s walk-off win, courtesy of Manny Machado’s grand slam, didn’t bring any momentum. It doesn’t exist. The next day’s starting pitcher usually dictates how the game will unfold.

sidebar-Gausman-white.jpgGausman allowed two home runs to Mike Trout and two to Luis Valbuena to tie his career high. He also served up four on July 14 versus the Cubs.

Orioles starters have failed to complete five innings in the last four games while registering a 10.70 ERA. Miguel Castro and his rubber arm worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings last night after replacing Jeremy Hellickson and 2 1/3 scoreless innings tonight in relief of Gausman, which could necessitate a roster move before Sunday afternoon’s finale.

Chris Tillman didn’t pitch and likely will make the start.

Mychal Givens struck out four batters in 1 2/3 innings, as the bullpen again did its part.

The Angels had 130 home runs when the series began, ranking them next-to-last in the American League and 25th in the majors. But they’re out of control in Baltimore.

Gausman had allowed two runs or fewer in five of his last six starts, the exception his Aug. 9 outing in Anaheim. Trout belted a solo home run tonight in the first inning, the ball traveling an estimated 429 feet to left field, and another solo shot in the third. Valbuena led off the second inning with a home run and clubbed a two-run shot in the fourth after Andrelton Simmons doubled.

The end was near.

Gausman issued a pair of two-out walks in the fourth and threw a wild pitch before retiring Trout on a pop up in front of the mound. Albert Pujols singled to lead off the fifth, Kole Calhoun walked and Castro entered the game.

Five runs and six hits in four innings, with four walks, four home runs and a wild pitch, doesn’t constitute some of Gausman’s finest work. The rotation is in another funk and the offense won’t always be able to bail it out.

The Orioles tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the first against J.C. Ramirez. Tim Beckham had a double, moved to third on Machado’s infield hit and scored on a wild pitch.

Adam Jones walked with one out to put runners on the corners, but Trey Mancini grounded into a 4-6-3 double play. Mancini also grounded out to end the third after Jonathan Schoop’s two-out single and Jones’ infield hit, which was accompanied by a throwing error by shortstop Simmons.

There was a lengthy delay in the top of the second inning after plate umpire Tom Hallion was hit on the top of the mask by a foul tip from Martín Maldonado. Hallion left the game and was replaced by second base umpire Vic Carapazza.

Gausman struck out Maldonado and Kaleb Cowart to end the inning. The stoppage in play didn’t impact him.

Issues arose when someone stood in the batter’s box.

The night began with a scheduled Home Run Derby, won by vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson, and included introductions of various members of the 1992 team.

Cal Ripken Jr. naturally drew the loudest ovation after being the last player introduced. Mike Mussina was greeted with “Moose” calls. No hard feelings tonight for the whole pinstripes thing.

One of the more touching moments came when fans offered polite applause to Glenn Davis. It wasn’t a rousing ovation, but there were no audible boos. The guy has suffered enough and deserved to be treated with kindness.

The Orioles could use a little of it on Sunday.

Update: Tillman is the confirmed starter for Sunday.

Asked whether he’s confident now that Tillman’s figured out his problems in the bullpen, manager Buck Showalter replied, “How do you quantify confident? I don’t know. The Angels will let us know that. But Chris has a really good pedigree of pitching really good baseball for the Orioles and he’s done the things that we asked him to do to get back.

“We need him to pitch well for us to get to where we want to go. It’s got the chance to give us a shot in the arm. It may happen tomorrow, it may not happen. But he’s done his part and the two outings have been better and his work day went well, but we’ll see. I don’t know if that’s confident. This is a hard place to pitch. These are the best players in the world and mistakes get magnified. Not many people in the American League have been pitching as well as Kevin, but tonight it happened the other way. So you play the games because you never know what’s going to happen.”

Showalter also said he received a text message from Chris Davis with an offer to come to the ballpark. He’s feeling better and probably will be in Sunday’s lineup.

“Told him to get some rest and get ready to go tomorrow,” Showalter said.

Here’s more from Showalter:

On Gausman: “He just made some mistakes. I know he was trying to go in off the plate to Trout the first one, center cut. We had trouble keeping it in the park. He was trying to go down and away off the plate and hung a breaking ball. And those balls end up where they ended up, especially when you compound the quality of hitter that you’re facing.

“We didn’t score any runs. We scored one. Good job out of the bullpen. Castro was good again. Mychal needs some work. Just location was poor (from Gausman). If you go back through all those pitches, really center cut some balls he was trying to go off the plate or on black.”

On whether he feels OK with shape of bullpen: “Not really, but we’re going to make some adjustments if we need to. We were talking about it. Got some ideas and some things to do to keep us from sending out people that are pitching well if we can help it.”

On whether it’s tough watching all the home runs: “It wasn’t too difficult when we were hitting them. But it’s part of it. What were there, four of them? It’s that time of the year. Mistakes go a long way. I don’t think it’s anything to do with the ballparks or baseballs. You make good pitches, we get outs. Mistakes get magnified up here with power being so prevalent at the major league level. Mistakes go a lot farther.”

More on Gausman: “I thought his command was a challenge for him. Early on he walked some people he doesn’t usually walk. He’s been pitching well for us. Tonight was a break from that. Kevin, he’s one of the reasons why we want to get Chris back into the mix. I think Kevin leads the American League in starts. As well as he’s pitched for us the last month and a half, really almost two months, that’s one of the things you see is the command a little bit.

“Stuff-wise, arm strength and velocity and everything, he feels great. I think we have a chance to be a better pitching staff if we can get a little blow for some of our guys. But it’s going to require some challenges with the bullpenm with some things moving around. Obviously, things change on Sept. 1 or Sept. 2. That 10 days doesn’t come into play once the season ends.”

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