Fathers Day could not have been more perfect for Miguel Gonzalez on Sunday, as he pitched the Orioles to a 6-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
Gonzalez and his wife are expecting their first child any day now, and Gonzalez earned his fifth victory of the season as he threw 6 1/3 innings and allowed only three runs on five hits.
Gonzalez received some help from Chris Davis, who hit his Major-League-leading 23rd home run, driving in three runs. Also, Nick Markakis went four for five, with two doubles and three runs scored. Adam Jones contributed with two hits and a run batted in, and for those of you keeping score at home, Manny Machado hit his Major-League-best 32nd double.
Gonzalez got off to a great start, allowing only two hits over the first six innings before running into a little trouble in the seventh inning, but by that point Baltimore had staked him to a 5-0 lead. After getting Johnny Gomes to pop out to shortstop, Gonzalez allowed a double and a single before Will Middlebrooks drove everyone in with a three-run homer, ending the day for Gonzalez.
Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter bridged the gap to Jim Johnson, who earned his 25th save, best in the American League.
Gonzalez started the year off decently, before hitting a rough patch towards the end of April, which saw his ERA rise to 4.60. Gonzalez has been great so far in June, posting a record of 2-0 and allowing only two earned runs in 14 innings pitched with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 6-1.
If Baltimore wants to make a run in October, Gonzalez will need to pitch like he did at the end of last year. On October 2, right in the thick of a pennant race, Gonzalez threw 6 1/3 innings of two-hit ball while allowing no earned runs as Baltimore beat the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0. His next start was in the playoffs on the road against the New York Yankees.
Gonzalez earned a no-decision, but he pitched brilliantly, going seven strong innings and allowing only one earned run on five hits. Gonzalez struck out eight while walking none.
Baltimore will need more starts like this from Gonzalez, as the O’s have the second-to-worst earned run average, at 4.45 as a team. The only team worse than them is the Houston Astros—no comfort there.
All told, if Gonzalez can keep this up and help the O’s make the playoffs, that will still only be the second best thing to happen to him this year.
by Andy Mindzak