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Gonzalez's rough sixth leads to Orioles 7-4 loss

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Gonzalez's rough sixth leads to Orioles 7-4 loss

BALTIMORE –- It was a strange night for Miguel Gonzalez. He had a rough start, an excellent middle and an awful end. That awful end led to four runs in the sixth inning.

That sixth led to the Washington Nationals’ 7-4 win over the Orioles on Saturday night before the second sellout crowd in as many nights, 44,495 at Oriole Park, tied “The Battle of the Beltways” at a game each.

Gonzalez allowed seven of the first 10 runners to reach, giving up two runs in the second, then set down 10 straight before allowing that four-run sixth without retiring a batter.

“I think the only thing I’m doing wrong is thinking too much right now. Really not focusing on letting it go and just be myself. Right now, mechanically, I’m just overthinking things right now. I think that’s what’s getting away from me. I will go on the break and refresh that come the second half and do what I can do,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez (7-6) allowed six runs on eight hits in five-plus innings.

The Orioles (44-43) have struggled since winning 17 of 22 last month. They’ve lost nine of 12, and they are just 1-for-35 with runners in scoring position in their last five games.

“Just not taking advantage of opportunities. I’d say we’re not knocking runners in off base, a lot of teams are getting a lot of two-out base knocks off us. Other teams are getting the job done, and we just haven’t been. But it’s baseball, it comes around,” Steve Pearce said.

About 45 minutes before game time, Chris Davis was scratched with gastroenteritis, and the Orioles made several changes to their lineup. For a time, it looked as if those alterations would pay off.

Manager Buck Showalter said that about 75 minutes before the scheduled 7:15 p.m. start, Davis became ill. He didn’t commit to Davis playing on Sunday.

Showalter added the Davis’ illness to his list of woes, which includes the lack of clutch production.

Sometimes, I think we're trying to do too much and that's a lot easier to say. You tell them not to. At this level pitchers make a living at letting you get yourself out and I think that's happening, but that's true every night in some form or fashion,” Showalter said.

In the bottom of the first, Manny Machado led off with single off Jordan Zimmermann. Chris Parmelee doubled, and Machado scored on an infield out by Jimmy Paredes.

The Nationals (47-39) took a 2-1 lead in the second. Wilson Ramos walked, Danny Espinosa and Tyler Moore singled to load the bases with none out, and Ramos scored on Ian Desmond’s double play. Matt den Dekker walked, and Michael A. Taylor’s single drove in Espinosa.

With one out in the second, J.J. Hardy singled, and Caleb Joseph hit his sixth home run of the season, and the Orioles had a 3-2 advantage.

Pearce, inserted in the lineup when Davis was scratched, hit his seventh home run leading off the fourth.

By then, Gonzalez was on his roll. That streak abruptly ended when Bryce Harper hit his first home run against the Orioles, and his 26th of the season to lead off the sixth. Harper had been 4-for-24 in Baltimore.

Clint Robinson and Ramos singled. They scored when Espinosa ripped his 10th home run of the season to right field for a 6-4 Nationals lead.

Gonzalez hopes by his next start on July 19, things will be better.

“It’s tough man, honestly. You go in and you think about it and you’re like, ‘What’s going on?’ I was throwing really good for a couple innings and they’re good hitters,” Gonzalez said. “When you don’t make good pitches, bad things might happen.”

Zimmermann (8-5) allowed four runs on nine hits in five innings.

Desmond walked against Tommy Hunter in the ninth, stole second, moved to third on den Dekker’s bunt and scored on Taylor’s single to right.

Blake Treinin, Felipe Rivero, Casey Janssen and Drew Storen combined to allow just one hit in the fourth inning. Storen pitched the ninth for his 26th save.

The Orioles need a win on Sunday to finish the season’s first half with a record above .500.

“I always say at the break ask me how are season is going so far. No matter what we’re still going to be – our division is so tight – it’s still up for grabs. Obviously going into the break with a W is always good. But the second half is going to be real important because whoever gets hot is gonna probably win the division,” Jones said.

NOTES: Max Scherzer (9-7, 2.12) faces Wei-Yin Chen (4-4, 2.82) on Sunday in the final game before the four-day All-Star break. … The Orioles have fifth sellouts this season.

MORE ORIOLES: DAVIS SCRATCHED FROM LINEUP SATURDAY NIGHT

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

The Orioles have finally found their man.

After entering the Winter Meetings without having yet hired their new manager, a rarity in this era of baseball, the Orioles announced Friday that they had hired Brandon Hyde to fill the role.

Hyde joins the organization after spending half a decade in Chicago under Joe Maddon, and many years prior with the Marlins. He has a long background in player development, something that was important to new Orioles GM Mike Elias, which makes sense considering the state of the organization and their upcoming rebuilding process.

Hyde is 45, so he’ll have the opportunity to stick in Baltimore for a long time if he finds success, however, Elias defines it, in the next few seasons. Many times, the manager leading a team as it embarks on an organizational rebuild is not the same one who leads them back into contention, but the Orioles front office will certainly hope Hyde is up to both tasks.
 
“After conducting an intensive search, I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” said Mike Elias, Orioles Executive Vice President and General Manager, in a statement released Friday.

“Brandon’s deep background in player development and Major League coaching, most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a World Champion, has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process. I look forward to introducing him to our fans next week and to working together with him to build the next great Orioles team.”

Elias was thought to have preferred someone with Major League experience, so as to avoid saddling an up-and-coming manager with multiple 90-plus loss seasons inevitably on the horizon in Baltimore. Hyde technically has experience coaching in the big leagues, though it comes in the form of a single game. The Marlins lost his one game as acting manager 2-1 to the Rays, and Jack McKeon was named interim manager the next day.

Maddon has developed a reputation as a stellar communicator and somebody open to analytics, and it stands to reason that Hyde would follow a similar style of leadership, especially considering how critical those traits are in the eyes of Elias.

Hyde replaces Buck Showalter, a beloved figure in Baltimore after his 8 ½ seasons at the helm brought winning baseball back to a city desperate for relevancy. Showalter’s contract was not renewed at the end of this past season, an understandable decision given his age and how long it will be until the franchise is ready to compete again.

Reports swirled about Hyde being named the 20th manager in franchise history as early as Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, though Elias and the front office were quick to emphasize that nothing was official at the time. In the end, Hyde does end up accepting the job, and he’ll be introduced at a press conference Monday.

Nationals bench coach Chip Hale was, along with Hyde, one of six finalists who interviewed for the position, so the Nats won’t be losing a valuable piece of their staff.

The Orioles are in the honeymoon phase of the rebuild, where hope springs eternal and the losses to come haven’t set in yet. Hyde checks all the boxes for what Elias was looking for, and despite his relative inexperience, he’s someone who should excite, if not necessarily inspire, the fanbase in Charm City.

Orioles fans won’t have many exciting acquisitions to cheer on in the near future, but they may have just made one of their most impactful. The O’s finally have their GM-Manager combination set for the foreseeable future, and they’ll hope to experience as much success and more as the previous regime.

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

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USA Today Sports

Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

Orioles new general manager Mike Elias is a busy man out in Las Vegas. Not only is he looking to add much needed talent to Baltimore's roster but he is also searching for a new manager. Elias interviewed six candidates, including Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, for the vacancy. On Monday, Elias said they were “pretty far along in the process.”

Then the reports surfaced on Tuesday that the Orioles had found their man. 

For a second straight year, Joe Maddon's bench coach has landed a managerial job (Davey Martinez). 

But, in the words of College Gameday's Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend!"

Does that mean Hyde is not the manager? Not necessarily. It likely means Elias wants the news to come out on his terms.