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Orioles 4, Angels 8: Halos tee off on Orioles pitching

The lead changed hands several times in this one, but ultimately the Angels came out on top.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Gausman's last two starts were okay, but tonight he didn't have his fastball command and the Angels made him pay for it. After a fairly quiet top of the first, Gausman struck out David DeJesus and Kole Calhoun before surrendering a solo shot to Mike Trout (on his birthday no less!) to make it 1-0 Angels. Pujols then singled against the Orioles' defensive shift, but David Murphy grounded out to end the inning. After the Orioles failed to score in the top of the second half, Gausman looked okay in the bottom half.

In the top of the third, the Orioles broke through a bit against Angels starter Andrew Heaney. Heaney is a highly touted pitcher drafted ninth overall by the Marlins in 2012. (Yes, that would be five spots after Gausman was drafted the same year.) He was traded to the Dodgers late last year in the Dee Gordon deal and then was immediately flipped to the Angels for Howie Kendrick straight up. At that point he became, according to Baseball America, the Angels' number one prospect and the 42nd-ranked prospect in the game.

Anyway, Nolan Reimold singled against Heaney to lead off the third inning. Third baseman Conor Gillaspie had to dive for the ball and stand up and throw, but Reimold was too fast. Manny Machado popped out, but Gerardo Parra singled to the right fielder Calhoun. Reimold turned on the jets as he rounded second base, but Calhoun threw him out by several steps. Thankfully, Parra took second base on the throw. I say thankfully because the next batter was Adam Jones who singled off the center-field wall to tie the game at one. Trout make a strong throw to nail Jones at second base. The ball was hit so well, Jones probably thought had a homer and didn't run as fast as he usually does. That ended the inning, but at least the Orioles had tied it up.

Gausman responded with a 1-2-3 bottom half, and the Orioles took a 3-1 lead in the 4th on a two-run dinger by Jonathan Schoop that rocketed down the left-field line. (Don't look now, but Schoop has a 154 wRC+ this year.) But Gausman walked Trout and Pujols back-to-back to start his inning. David Murphy then blooped a single over Machado's head to score Trout, who in addition to blasting home runs and making highlight-reel catches is a very good baserunner. Pujols moved to second on the play and then, after Erick Aybar flew out, moved to second when Gillaspie grounded out. The next batter, Johnny Giovatella, doubled him home to tie the game at 3. Chris Ianetta flew out to end the inning.

The fifth inning came and went pretty quickly, save for a Gerardo Parra single and Adam Jones getting angry at home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi for calling him out on a checked-swing third strike. The Orioles took the lead (again!) in the sixth inning though, when Matt Wieters knocked a one-out solo shot to left-center. That put the Orioles up 4-3, all while broadcasters Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer were talking about how well Wieters hits at Angel Stadium. After J.J. Hardy grounded out, the Orioles had a chance for more when Schoop singled and new Oriole Junior Lake doubled off the third base bag.

It was at this point that Angels manager Mike Scioscia replaced Heaney on the mound with Fernando Salas, bringing in a righty to pitch to Nolan Reimold. On a 1-1 pitch, Reimold popped a ball into foul territory. Giovatella had to run over to make the play and gloved the ball but dropped it to give Reimold another chance. Unfortunately, he used that opportunity to strike out looking, leaving two runners in scoring position.

Those runners would come back to haunt the Orioles in the 6th. It didn't start off badly. David Murphy led off and poked a single through the 5.5 hole, just off the end of his bat. Aybar slammed a long fly ball to center field that Adam Jones had to run straight back and get, then Gillaspie popped out.

That's when things unraveled. Giovatella singled on an 0-2 curveball that caught too much of the plate. Gausman then got Chris Ianetta to 0-2 before getting him to foul off two pitches and then take ball one. On the 1-2 pitch, Gausman grooved a fastball and Ianetta didn't miss it, doubling to deep center field and scoring both runners. The Angels had the lead, 5-4, and they wouldn't let it go the rest of the night.

Chaz Roe came in to replace Gausman and gave up a sharp single to DeJesus that scored Ianetta, making it 6-4 Angels. Kole Calhoun also singled, and Roe walked Mike Trout to bring up Pujols, who thankfully popped out to end the inning.

The Orioles would get a few more baserunners but would not threaten again the rest of the game. Buck brought in Brian Matusz to pitch the 7th, who retired Murphy but gave up a single to Aybar. When pinch-hitter C.J. Cron was announced, Brad Brach entered the game to get the favorable righty-righty matchup. But some times not even those work out in your favor, as Cron hammered a 93 MPH middle-in fastball into the seats to increase the Angels lead to 8-4.

And that was basically the game. The Angels had a couple more baserunners, and Manny Machado doubled in the top of the 9th to complete a 3-5 night at the plate. Gerardo Parra went 2-4.

The loss drops the Orioles to 55-53 and pushes them further down in the Wild Card standings, atop which the Angels currently sit. Toronto occupies the second spot, and they won tonight too. Tomorrow's game will see Ubaldo Jimenez oppose Garrett Richards on the hill.