BALTIMORE – What’s wrong with Miguel Gonzalez? That’s the question bothering much of Baltimore.
Gonzalez failed to win for the fifth straight start, allowing seven runs in five innings as the Orioles lost to the Minnesota Twins 15-2 before an announced crowd of 20,109 at Oriole Park on Thursday night.
It was the most runs allowed by the Orioles since July 16, 2012 when they allowed 19 to Minnesota.
After a two hour, 31 minute rain delay, Gonzalez retired the Twins in order in the first.
But, in the second, after fans were invited to occupy empty seats in the lower bowl, Gonzalez was tagged for five runs.
“Just a tough, tough outing, I think. Everyone goes through hard times, and you've just got to grind it out and come back and work hard for the next one and not worry about this one,” Gonzalez said.
After Miguel Sano walked, Trevor Plouffe and Edwin Rosario singled to load the bases. Torii Hunter walked to score Sano. Kurt Suzuki’s single scored Plouffe and Rosario. Eduardo Escobar’s double scored Hunter to make it 4-0.
With two outs, Brian Dozier singled to left with Suzuki scoring, but Escobar was thrown out at the plate, and Minnesota led 5-0.
"He was pretty crisp the first inning. I thought he was getting ready to run off a pretty good game, and then he gives up a walk, a broken-bat single to right and a swinging bunt and he couldn't stem the tide there,” manager Buck Showalter said.
“His command got away from him. He was wild in the strike zone and you do it against any major league team, you're going to pay a price. He got some things in his favor and he just couldn't finish them off.”
Chris Davis singled and Matt Wieters doubled to start the second against Tyler Duffey (2-1), but they stayed at second and third when Jonathan Schoop popped to short right while Steve Clevenger and J.J. Hardy struck out.
“At 5-0 we had second and third and nobody out and if we could have pushed those two across you've got a whole different dynamic to the game, but we didn't,” Showalter said.
Gonzalez allowed a two-run homer to Sano in the fifth. It was Sano’s 10th, and the Twins (59-62) led 7-0.
“I think one thing that's missing is finishing hitters, and that's been the struggle. I've been changing a little bit of things here and there. It's a process...and you go out there and forget about this one and get ready for the next one,” Gonzalez said.
In five innings, Gonzalez (9-9) allowed seven runs on eight hits. It was the most runs he’s allowed this season.
“He goes through some periods, some sequences, where you're going, 'All right, there it is, here we go' He just hasn't been able to string together any consistency that he's been so good at for us. He's got a strong constitution. Most guys wouldn't have got through five innings tonight but he knew... That's a tribute to him,” Showalter said.
“But I know Miggy, he's not happy with it at all. Chances are, he'll figure it out.”
Jason Garcia, who pitched five scoreless innings since returning from the disabled list, allowed two in the seventh on a two-run double by Plouffe.
Duffey, who retired 12 straight after Wieters’ double, allowed two runs on 10 hits in 7 2/3 innings. On Saturday, he pitched six shutout innings, allowing three hits, but walking five for his first major league win.
T.J. McFarland allowed five runs in the eighth and another in the ninth.
Duffey gave up two runs in the eighth. Gerardo Parra and Caleb Joseph had RBI singles.
“He did exactly what we thought he was going to do, which is a real tribute to him and the quality of his curveball. We knew he was going to throw a lot of them. He threw really late and works underneath the ball a lot. That type of curveball is always tough against left-handed batters if he continuously throws it in the right spot, which he did,” Duffey said.
Clevenger, Wieters and Caleb Joseph watch video of Gonzalez and they’re mystified.
“He’s a good pitcher. His past is proven that he’s a good pitcher. He’s pitched in the AL East for a couple of years now. As a team we’re going to find out what’s going on with him and hopefully he’s going to be good down the stretch for us,” Clevenger said.
NOTES: Ryan Flaherty broke his 0-for-34 slump with an eighth inning single. … Tommy Milone (6-3, 3.65) faces Wei-Yin Chen (7-6, 3.20) on Friday night. … Frederick right-hander Mikey O’Brien pitched a seven inning no-hitter against Lynchburg. It was the Keys’ first no-hitter since June 30, 2010.