It was a frustrating evening for the Orioles on their one-night trip to Texas. They took a three-run lead. They lost 4-3 to the surging Rangers. O’s right-hander Kevin Gausman, given little run support often this year, this time could not protect the early lead his team provided him.
Gausman has been struggling for a few starts now and it continued tonight. He allowed a solo homer to Ian Desmond in the third to make it a 3-1 game. Then Texas scored three runs an inning later for the 4-3 lead. That inning featured a leadoff walk, three singles and sac fly.
With the bases loaded and one out, No. 9 hitter Bobby Wilson drove a sac fly to center on the 10th pitch of the at-bat. Adam Jones’ throw home was offline and missed the cutoff man as the other two runners moved up a base. That was costly when Shin-Soo Choo’s two-run single to right gave Texas a 4-3 lead.
The O’s went ahead in the second on J.J. Hardy’s RBI double, an RBI single by Jones and Joey Rickard’s run-scoring double. The O’s took a 3-0 lead there but they would not score again. They loaded the bases with no outs in the third but Derek Holland fanned Hardy and got Nolan Reimold to bounce into a double play ball to blow that rally.
The Orioles had 15 hits tonight but left 12 on base. The frustrations extended to the top of the ninth. Singles by Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo put runners on the corners with one out against Sam Dyson. Needing just a sac fly to tie it, Dyson fanned Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop grounded out to end the game.
Gausman allowed nine hits and four runs in five innings plus one batter. He walked one and fanned five. He threw 103 pitches and is now 0-5 with an ERA of 4.37.
Gausman had an ERA of 2.70 his first six starts of this season. But his ERA is 6.32 over his past six and he has given up four runs or more four times in that stretch.
The Orioles fall to 40-29 overall and to 14-17 in road games. They maintain a one-game lead atop the AL East over Boston, which lost 3-1 in 10 innings to the Chicago White Sox. Texas (46-25) has won seven in a row, 15 of 18 and 21 of its last 26 games. The Rangers improved to 17-4 in one-run games and they have won eight in a row and 13 of 14 decided by a single run.
The Orioles return to Baltimore to begin homestand against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday night at Camden Yards. Tyler Wilson (3-5, 4.16 ERA) pitches against right-hander Luis Perdomo (2-2, 8.79 ERA).