BALTIMORE—The Orioles are desperately in need of another starting pitcher, and after nearly two months on the disabled list, may have found another in Yovani Gallardo.
Gallardo’s first start since coming off the disabled list wasn’t great, but it was good enough for a win.
Throwing five innings, Gallardo gave up two runs as the Orioles held on for a 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays before 41,901 at Oriole Park on Saturday.
Gallardo is back. So is J.J. Hardy. On Sunday, they temporarily begin life without Manny Machado, whose four-game suspension starts on Sunday.
With the win, the Orioles (39-28) maintain a one-game lead in the AL East over Boston. Toronto (39-32) is two games behind.
Gallardo got called third strikes on his first two batters, Ezequiel Carrerra and Josh Donaldson, walked Edwin Encarnacion and gave up a single to Michael Saunders. Justin Smoak popped to third to end the first.
His only 1-2-3 inning was the second, and his most difficult was the third. Carrerra homered with one out, and then Gallardo loaded the bases before striking out Smoak and Troy Tulowitzki.
Kevin Pillar walked to start the fourth and he scored on Devon Travis’ double, but Travis was easily thrown out third.
Gallardo (2-1) gave up five hits and walked four and left with a one-run lead.
“I was pleased with his outing,” manager Buck Showalter said. “To get that kind of start I think it bodes well. I'm excited about him the rest of the year. That's pretty hard to do. He was diligent about it. He's going to have to stay on it now to stay where he was today.”
Gallardo is scheduled to pitch again on Friday when Machado returns and the Orioles begin a four-game series with Tampa Bay.
“He'll get deeper in games as we go forward. He had a lot of adrenaline going today,” Showalter said.
Gallardo put the time off to good use.
“I did a lot of hard work,” Gallardo said. “Just able to finish those pitches and throw those fastballs and locate.”
Gallardo threw his fastball in the low 90’s.
“I've been feeling pretty good ever since I started throwing the baseball. I made some pitches whenever I had to. It's just to be back out there once again. We got the win. I think that's the most important thing is [it's] a big win for us. It was nice to be back out there,” Gallardo said.
The Orioles scored two runs in the first with any official RBIs. Jonathan Schoop doubled with one out off R.A. Dickey (4-8). Machado doubled, but as Schoop ran around third, his third base coach Bobby Dickerson tried to stop him. Machado was halfway to third, and as the throw to third got away, Schoop scored.
Machado moved to third on an infield out, and as Dickey’s knuckleball eluded catcher Josh Thole for a passed ball, Machado scored for a 2-0 lead.
Schoop homered in the third, his 11th of the season.
Mychal Givens threw two scoreless innings, allowing one hit. Brad Brach pitched a 1-2-3 eighth.
Schoop, who had three hits scored the fourth run in the eighth when he and Machado, who also had three hits started the inning with singles off Jason Grilli.
Chris Davis, who is 2-for-17 since being named the AL’s Player of the Week, struck out and Mark Trumbo’s pop to right was trapped by Carrera in right.
Carrera recovered to force Machado at second, but Schoop scored.
Zach Britton loaded the bases in the ninth, but got Josh Donaldson to hit into a game-ending double play and picked up his 21st straight save.
Hardy was 1-for-3 in his return, and Machado moved back to third base—for a day. He’ll be back there on Friday.
Machado was comfortable at the position he’s played for nearly four years.
“Like I never left, like I never left. It was awesome,” Machado said.
“I love playing that position. I’m excited to be back. I’m excited to have J.J. back. I think everybody in this clubhouse was pumped to have him back in here. I think everybody was happy. Just his presence takes us a lot way in here. He’s the captain of the infield, he’s the captain of this team. Just him in the lineup just makes us a whole better team.”
NOTES: Britton’s scoreless streak is at 19 innings in 17 games. … Marcus Stroman (6-2, 4.76) faces Chris Tillman (9-1, 2.87) on Sunday.