Kevin Gausman opened the first homestand tonight following the All-Star break by throwing seven pitches and heading back to the clubhouse. No injury or ejection. Just the latest round of rain showers.
Two outs in the bottom of the third inning and another storm drenched the ballpark, forcing the second interruption while the grounds crew stood on the field and waited to remove the tarp.
Anyone hoping for a smoother ride in the second half is in for a serious disappointment.
Gausman served up Mitch Moreland’s leadoff home run in the second inning and experienced a lapse in control in the fifth, and the Orioles never caught up while losing 5-3 before an announced crowd of 16,885 at Camden Yards.
The Orioles are 0-4 since the break and Manny Machado trade and are 28-73 overall and 16-34 at home. They were pointed toward their 10th shutout until Jonathan Schoop’s two-run homer off Brandon Workman in the eighth inning and Caleb Joseph’s run-scoring single off Craig Kimbrel in the ninth after Renato Núñez doubled.
Schoop’s first 12 home runs this season were solo shots.
Gausman retired 12 of the first 13 batters before Xander Bogaerts led off the fifth with a double. Three consecutive one-out walks, the last to Jackie Bradley Jr., gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead and Andrew Benintendi’s two-run double with two outs ended Gausman’s night.
It happened as quickly as the shift in weather.
Gausman was cruising along after an eight-pitch fourth inning, but he threw 30 in the fifth and was charged with four more runs, the last on J.D. Martinez’s RBI infield single off Miguel Castro. Gausman allowed only three hits in 4 2/3 innings, but was burned by Bogaerts’ bloop double near the right field line and walks to batters with on-base percentages of .288, .281 and .296.
Jace Peterson was playing right field, an infielder again manning at least one of the corners, and he couldn’t catch up to Bogaerts’ ball. An attempt at a sliding catch failed, Bogaerts hustled into second base and Gausman was on borrowed time.
This is the third consecutive start with Gausman going five innings or fewer and his ERA has climbed to 4.54 while he remains the subject of trade talks. Multiple teams have expressed interest, including the Yankees, Brewers, Rockies and Braves.
The Orioles and Red Sox were subjected to delays lasting 41 and 19 minutes. Rick Porcello came back out in the third and gave up a double to Schoop, but Peterson was an easy out at the plate to keep Boston ahead 1-0.
Bogaerts threw home on the relay, Peterson went in standing and catcher Sandy Leon was waiting for him.
Orioles relievers vacated the bullpen in the first inning as rain halted play, but it stopped soon after and the grounds crew raced back onto the field to roll up the tarp, apply the drying compound and remove water from the track. It looked like someone flipped a switch to stop the precipitation because it happened so suddenly.
There’s no rewind button for the season, in case anyone was wondering.
Gausman had retired the first two batters and got ahead 0-2 to Martinez before the delay. He induced a ground ball on his ninth pitch to dispose of the Red Sox in otherwise brisk fashion.
Moreland’s home run to center field came on the third straight four-seam fastball thrown to him, the last at 92 mph and right down the middle of the plate.
Manager Buck Showalter removed Machado from Sunday’s game after a rain delay, protecting the biggest trade chip in baseball, but Jones stayed in center field tonight through two stoppages. Nothing is imminent with Jones, though the Indians have emerged as one possibility. Showalter said earlier that he hadn’t heard of anything being close.
The sky opened up again with two outs in the top of the seventh inning, but a downpour turned into a light shower within seconds. More rain fell in the ninth while the grounds crew moved behind the tarp.
The Orioles offense stayed dry for most of the night. The second half already looks too much like the first.
Showalter on Gausman’s fifth inning: “I’m sure the rain delays had something to do with it, too. It’s tough on both pitchers, starting and stopping, the time between pitching. But go back through that inning, the fly ball that we couldn’t get to. Kind of made a good pitch and popped the ball up. We just couldn’t get to it. Probably close to hitting the chalk. I’m not sure. You all saw it better than I did. But the walks hurt us tonight. I think we outhit them, but we walked five or six guys? That was really, they were patient. Kevin was just missing with some pitches. There’s a lot of pitches you throw that can kind of go either way.
“We hit a lot of balls hard tonight, too. Poor Trey. I mean, he stung two balls as good as you want to see. Adam hit a ball to left field early. I think there was another. But we just couldn’t string it together. But we made a good run at them at the end against a real good pitcher.”
Showalter on frustration of not capitalizing early and Red Sox doing it in fifth: “That’s kind of, some things you can’t control. You hit a ball hard and somebody catches it. Makes a good defensive play, too, or it’s hit right at them. But they execute some situations, man on second and nobody out and they figure out a way to get him in. We got the balk call there and couldn’t get a guy in. It’s been a challenge for us. Man on third, it seems like the strikeout’s been biting us there.”
Showalter on whether Gausman not pitching in 11 days was factor: “I thought he was carrying pretty good stuff. I know it’s frustrating, especially the first inning. He gets that delay. And there’s nothing you can do about it. It looked like it was going to miss us. Otherwise you’d be sitting out there waiting an hour or so and then these things pop up late. You all live here, you know how it works.
“Nicole (Sherry, head groundskeeper) is the best in the game. She told us the possibility was there. But I think Kevin more than anything ... I actually thought he was pretty sharp with a lot of things, but it’s tough to judge the outing with the circumstances that he had to pitch under. Back and forth and a lot of unknown and warming up on the mound, not sure if there was going to be another delay, which there was.
“I came very close to taking him out after the second one, but he was feeling good, his pitch count was down. I’m trying to be careful with him. Like most pitchers, we tried to push him back a little bit. He’s had a lot of, not stressful, but just a lot of innings. I thought the time off was good for him. I thought he was fine tonight. It’s tough to tell from the circumstances he had to operate under tonight.
“Their guy did a pretty good job with it, even though we had him lined up there a couple times and couldn’t do anything with it.”
Showalter on no Machado here for first time: “Probably a clubhouse thing more than anything. You just know that we’ve got a presence that’s been there. Throw out how good a player he is, but just that part of it. But our guys, it’s like something you know more than likely is coming, but when it actually happens there’s still a different feel somewhat.
“But our guys, I think that’s been the case for a while. It was kind of not if but when. And we’re still dealing with that with some other guys. But quite frankly, it’s kind of self-inflicted. If there was a way that Manny could still be here. So I think we try to keep that mind, knowing that it’s part of it, even though it hasn’t been the case here for a while. It’s kind of the fallout from not playing well.”
Gausman on the walks: “Just kind of lost the feel for my split. That was the biggest thing, especially to all those lefties. That was the situation. I had so many opportunities to get a ground ball double play, walking three guys at the bottom of the lineup to get to the top. Obviously, not what I’m trying to do there.”