Five relievers combine for six innings before O's fall on walk-off in 11th
By Earl Bloom
Special to MLB.com |
ANAHEIM -- Because right-hander Miguel Gonzalez had such an uncharacteristic start Sunday afternoon, the Orioles' bullpen had to work long and hard.
It was just a little too long, and didn't end with a positive result, as the Angels' David Murphy drove a bases-loaded walk-off single over the head of O's left fielder David Lough in the 11th inning to hand Baltimore a 5-4 loss at Angel Stadium in the rubber game of the three-game series.
"We got some really important innings from the bullpen," said Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who used five relievers after Gonzalez needed 102 pitches to get 14 outs.
Left-hander T.J. McFarland gave the O's some bullpen length, throwing 2 1/3 scoreless innings and setting the stage for the Orioles to tie the score with a pair of sixth-inning homers from Gerardo Parra (his first with Baltimore) and Chris Davis (his 29th of the season).
"I feel great [about the homer], I'm just not really happy that we lost," Parra said.
McFarland yielded to Darren O'Day and Brad Brach, who combined for five strikeouts over three scoreless frames. Brach struck out Murphy to send the game to extra innings.
"We got back in it, we just couldn't put another one of them on the board," Showalter said. "Mac did what he was supposed to do. I was really proud of our bullpen. Their bullpen did a nice job. Their bullpen was a tad better."
The fifth Orioles reliever, left-hander Brian Matusz, came on in the 11th to retire Kole Calhoun with the winning run on second for the second out. Then Showalter had Matusz intentionally walk Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to load the bases, bringing up the left-handed-hitting Murphy, who connected on a 3-2 pitch.
"You pretty much pick your poison there," Showalter said of his strategy to load the bases for Murphy. "All three of those guys have been having success."
Gonzalez had previously been effective against the Angels, going 3-1 with a 2.20 ERA in four career starts, including three in Anaheim. He was staked to a 2-0 first-inning lead on Matt Wieters' RBI single and Jonathan Schoop's RBI double, which extended his hitting streak to a career-high eight games.
Those hits came with two outs against Jered Weaver. But Gonzalez couldn't hold the lead, giving up a three-run homer to Murphy in the third inning and a solo shot by Calhoun in the first.
"He kept us in the game, but I've never seen him work with that tempo," Showalter said of Gonzalez, normally a quick worker.
"I just hung one out there [to Murphy]," Gonzalez said. "There were a lot of foul balls [that drove up the pitch count]. Physically, I'm fine. There's nothing wrong with my shoulder or elbow. I've got to keep grinding. You can't look back."
Earl Bloom is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.