Brian Matusz was sent to Triple-A Norfolk after another dismal performance Sunday at Camden Yards. Here’s hoping The Tides’ offense can put up some runs.
Matusz (L, 5-10) was touched for seven hits, two of which were home runs, three walks , and five runs (four earned) in just four-plus innings, as the birds dropped the finale of the four-game series with Cleveland, 6-2.
Matusz actually found a way to contain Shin-Soo Choo and Asdrubal Cabrera, the Indians’ 1-2 hitters, who’d hit the Orioles at a combined .517 clip in the series coming in. Against Matusz, they were a combined 0-4 with a walk. That’s where the good news on Matusz ends.
Matusz began the game by walking Choo, but settled down in the first to get Cabrera on a liner to center, and Jason Kipnis hit into a rare 2-6-3 double play to end things.
With one out in the second, Matusz was facing Shelley Duncan. On a 1-1 pitch, catcher Ronny Paulino set up on the inside corner, but Matusz’s pitch missed its spot by about a foot, and Duncan did not miss it. His sixth home run of the season put the Orioles in a position they’ve become quite familiar with when Matusz is on the mound: trailing early.
Matusz’s first pitch of the third inning was a flat, 90 MPH fastball that was elevated, and Aaron Cunningham, hitting .167 coming in and .220 lifetime, hit his first homer of the season.
In the fourth, the tribe jumped on Matusz for three consecutive doubles to lead off. A walk and a sac fly later, and it was 5-0 Cleveland.
The Orioles’ offense was doing Matusz no favors, mind you. Once again, the Orioles waited until the middle innings to pick up their first base hit, a bloop to center by Ryan Flaherty, off of Indians starter Justin Masterson (W, 5-7). One batter earlier, Adam Jones had become the birds’ first baserunner, reaching on an error by shortstop Jason Donald. Jones stole second, and scored on Flaherty’s hit, making it 5-1.
The bright spot in the game for the Orioles was Miguel Gonzalez. The righthander, summoned from Norfolk, pitched a sparkling 4.1 innings in relief, giving up one earned run on four hits. He walked three, and struck out five.
The final homestand before the All-Star break ends with the orioles going 3-6, and 1-5 in the last 6 games. The birds head west for a 3-game set against Seattle beginning at 10:10 Monday night. Jason Hammel (8-3, 3.29) takes the hill for the Orioles vs. the Mariners’ Hisashi Iwakuma (1-1, 4.75). Iwakuma is making his first big league start, filling for the injured Kevin Millwood.
- Gonzalez’s outing will, hopefully, “pay it forward” for a tired bullpen. The performance was terrific, as he gave the Orioles every chance to come back. The innings, though, were absolutely crucial, as the birds’ starters continue their early dismissals.
- The Orioles turned 3 double plays, and Chris Davis added an outfield assist.
- The Orioles get 3 All-Star representatives (Jones, Matt Wieters, and Jim Johnson), and could add a fourth if Hammel is voted on to the squad.
- Jim Thome’s Orioles debut didn’t go as planned: 0-4 with 2K and 3 runners left on.
- Ronny Paulino allowed 2 passed balls.
- The Indians take 3 of 4 from the Orioles, after winning just 11 of their last 30 coming in.