Gallardo's homecoming spoiled by former mates

Orioles starter sees victory slip away in seventh inning

Gallardo's homecoming spoiled by former mates

ARLINGTON -- Pitching at Globe Life Park for the first time since he left the Rangers last offseason, Yovani Gallardo wore out his welcome at home Saturday night.

Gallardo, who grew up in Fort Worth, about 20 miles away from the ballpark, and still lives in that city, made it through six innings practically unscathed and was in position to earn the victory. Instead, he unraveled in the Orioles' 8-4 loss to the Rangers.

In the fateful seventh inning, Gallardo issued a four-pitch leadoff walk to the Rangers' No. 9 hitter, rookie catcher Brett Nicholas.

"The nine-hole hitter, that can't happen, there's no excuse for it," Gallardo said of walking Nicholas. "That guy should have to hit his way on. To end up walking him, it's just asking for trouble. For me that was the key part of the game, that nine-hole hitter. No matter what the lead is or who the hitter is, you've got to make them swing the bat."

After walking Nicholas, Gallardo allowed a stinging line-drive double by Delino DeShields before manager Buck Showalter jogged to the mound to pull his pitcher.

"I tried to throw the front-door cutter and left it up and out over the plate," Gallardo said. "It's a little bit different if you get that guy in front of him, you get that first out and you've got one out in the inning."

Gallardo threw 105 pitches, more than in any of his past 16 starts dating back to last July. Showalter said he left Gallardo in the game to start the seventh because he was "a little crisper." Gallardo's velocity had been up higher than previous starts as well, Showalter said. And Showalter said he wanted to spare his hard-working bullpen as much as possible.

"He was carrying good stuff," Showalter said of his starter. "We just didn't want to take him much over 100 [pitches]."

After Gallardo departed, lefty T.J. McFarland allowed a single to Nomar Mazara. McFarland contributed to Mazara's infield hit when the pitcher hesitated on the mound after Mazara dribbled a grounder to first baseman Chris Davis. As a result, McFarland couldn't get to first in time to accept a throw from Davis, and Mazara beat Davis in a race to the bag. Nicholas scored on the play.

"I started to run over there and it was just too late. … Obviously that inning did not turn out the way I wrote it up in my head," said McFarland, who gave up three runs and recorded only one out in the loss.

Prince Fielder drove in DeShields with a grounder for the fourth and final run charged to Gallardo. The Rangers went on to score four more runs in the inning to pull away and get their starter, Colby Lewis, off the hook after he allowed three homers.

Lewis also threw six innings and allowed four runs. He scattered 10 hits while Gallardo gave up nine. Both pitchers walked two.

"He and Colby very similar outings," Showalter said. "It's just that we didn't pitch the last nine outs as well as they did."

Dave Sessions is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.