Inconsistent Orioles fall out of first place

Inconsistent Orioles fall out of first place

SAN FRANCISCO -- Since averaging over 10 runs a game during a four-game stretch in late June, the Baltimore Orioles offense has been sporadic. They have scored more than six runs in three of their last 39 games after doing so in 21 of their first 78.

After losing to the Giants, 6-2, on Saturday, the Orioles are averaging 3.4 runs a game since the All-Star break and are a game under .500 during that stretch. They averaged 5.1 runs a game before the break.

The Orioles fell out of first place Saturday for just the fifth day since June 4 and yet still have the potential to turn it back on as the season heads into its final 46 games.

Kevin Gausman's effort in Saturday night's loss can be viewed as a microcosm of the year: plenty effective but just not quite good enough.

He matched his season high with nine strikeouts but walked a career-high six batters. He allowed two hits and one was costly.

"When you walk the leadoff guy, you're putting runners on base," Gausman said. "I go 2-0 on [Denard] Span, and even then, the pitch is up and in, jamming him. He was able to push the ball up the middle."

Gausman fell to 0-9 on the road, but his numbers belie how well he pitched.

"He had good stuff," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He wasn't getting the bottom of the zone. When you strike out nine guys and walk six, there's a whole lot more going on than just walking guys."

Gausman said he wasn't going to give in even if he wasn't getting the calls.

"I thought I threw a lot of strikes tonight," he said. "The most frustrating thing is knowing the other guy on the side of the rubber is getting pitches. It ticks you off but there's nothing you can do about it. I thought I had good command and if I get a couple of pitches go my way, it's a different outcome. Six walks isn't going to do it."

• The Orioles had a scary moment when Adam Jones grabbed his finger after getting hit on a bunt attempt. The ball bounced in front of the plate and was fielded for the out while team athletic trainers and Showalter came out to treat Jones.

Jones insisted he was fine and will be in the lineup Sunday.

Rick Eymer is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Orioles on Saturday. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.