BALTIMORE --- The Orioles head off to Chicago after their first series loss in a month. After three games with 15 home runs, it was a tight, tense eight innings, full of clutch pitching and superlative plays in the field. No runs were scored.
In the ninth, the Texas Rangers broke loose and scored and beat the Orioles 2-0 before 31,915 at Oriole Park on Thursday night.
“It was the first one who was going to crack. Unfortunately, it was us, but overall, good game. Good game to watch, no matter if you’re a player or a spectator, it was a good game,” Adam Jones said.
Kevin Gausman was brought up for the start and pitched into the seventh inning, allowing just four hits. Texas’ Yovani Gallardo allowed just two hits in six innings.
“Both starting pitchers went out and dealt. Their bullpen held us in check, and we cracked first,” Jones said.
In the ninth, Chaz Roe (2-1) walked leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo. Elvis Andrus bunted Choo to second, and he scored when Leonys Martin lined a single to center.
With two outs, Rougned Odor singled to right to score Martin.
Manager Buck Showalter was upbeat after the loss. His team got just three hits, but he marveled at what he saw with the glove.
“What a great game we had defensively,” Showalter said.
Andrus hit a long fly to the left field corner with two outs in the second. David Lough ran hard for it, caught up to it, and hit the yellow tape on the left field wall, just below the foul pole, catching it for the third out.
The Orioles’ best offensive chance came in the third when they loaded the bases with two outs, but Chris Davis struck out.
In the top of the sixth, Odor led off with a drive to center. He unwisely tried for a triple, and an excellent thrown from Jones to J.J. Hardy to Machado caught him.
Gausman left with one out and runners on first and second in the seventh. Darren O’Day, who’s used to extricating himself from bases loaded jams, struck out Andrus and retired Martin on a fly to center to end the seventh.
It was a fine performance for Gausman, who was certainly helped by the series of excellent plays in the field. He walked two and striking out seven. The seven strikeouts equaled a career best.
“He gave us a really good effort. He gave us a chance to win. We just obviously didn't put much together offensively. Gallardo came off another good start, so we knew we were going to be challenged tonight there. We got the type of pitching that gives you a chance,” Showalter said.
Showalter wouldn’t commit to another start by Gausman, but he is going with the team to Chicago.
“I don’t know if I’m making a statement, but I just wanted to pitch well. That’s all I want to do is pitch, whether it’s here or in Triple-A. I just want to pitch. I just want to pitch and throw a lot of innings. Going into the year, going onto the DL, that’s something that obviously I didn’t plan. I wanted this year to be when I get close to 200 innings, but it’s just not going to happen so now it’s just focusing on getting my innings and going out there and competing, helping the team,” Gausman said.
O’Day retired all four batters he faced, and Brian Matusz couldn’t end the eighth, but prolonged it by allowing a single to Mitch Moreland and a walk to Fielder.
Against Roe, Adrian Beltre grounded slowly to Machado, who was charged with an error when he couldn’t field it. With the bases loaded, Josh Hamilton flied to center, ending the eighth.
Gallardo extended his scoreless streak to 29 1/3 innings.
Sam Freeman recorded four outs, and his fifth batter, Lough singled. Machado made life easier for Keone Kela (5-5) by hitting into a double play.
Shawn Tolleson pitched the ninth for his 12th save of the season.
The Orioles (42-38) had won seven and split one of their last eight series.
“The most important thing is to win series, you obviously can’t go in trying to say I’m gonna sweep everybody. But if you win two out of three in this case they won three out of four against us, but if you win the series, I think you’ll probably have a good shot come September first to see where you’re at in the standings,” Jones said.
NOTES: Davis’ 11-game hitting streak ended. … Jonathan Schoop homered in a rehab game at Frederick. He was 2-for-4. … The Orioles begin a three-game series against the White Sox on Friday. Ubaldo Jimenez (7-3, 3.09) faces John Danks (3-8, 5.38).