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Orioles rocked 10-1 by the Pirates

Kevin Gausman was hit hard in his final start of the season and Andrew McCutchen went wild with two homeruns and eight RBI to punish the Birds.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With nothing left to play for in 2017 for the Baltimore Orioles standings wise, at least Tuesday’s game was at beautiful PNC Park. It is a unique inter-league venue for the Birds and Kevin Gausman (11-10, 4.61) faced Trevor Williams (6-9, 4.18) of the Bucs on the north shore of Pittsburgh along the Allegheny River.

Entering the game and over his last five starts, Gausman was 2-1 with a 1.71 ERA. His second half was strong and ending with an exclamation mark was the priority for the right hander. It didn’t happen. Also of interest to fans of Baltimore, Chance Sisco made his second consecutive start, and Anthony Santander as well as Austin Hays were in the starting lineup offering more glimpses of the future.

Pittsburgh strikes early; O’s bats silent

Gausman fell behind 1-0 in the bottom of the first following a Starling Marte single, Marte went to third on a throwing error on a pickoff attempt, and scored on an Andrew McCutchen double. Josh Bell made it three hits in a row off Kevin with a double to right, plating McCutchen, and it was 2-0.

In the second, the roof caved in. Andrew McCutchen – a player that has had a good 2017 – hit a grand slam following walks to Max Moroff and Starling Marte, as well as a double from Adam Frazier. Just like that, after 54 pitches and two innings, Gausman and the Orioles were in a 6-0 hole. McCutchen was 2-2 with five RBI, two runs scored and a curtain call to his credit.

After three innings, the score was still 6-0 and Baltimore had more errors (one) than hits (zero). It was that kind of night. Baltimore’s first hit came in the form of a fourth inning two out double from Trey Mancini – extending his hitting streak to 15 – just out of the reach of a diving Andrew McCutchen. Given how the game was going, it’s a wonder he didn’t make the catch.

Gausman’s night and 2017

Seth Smith pinch hit for Gausman in the top of the fifth and his night was over. Gausman’s final start of the season was a disappointing four innings pitched, 83 pitches, five hits, six runs, two walks and five strikeouts.

In his game preview, Mark Brown of Camden Chat noted that “in the aggregate, this year must be seen as a disappointment for Gausman. However, his second half ERA of 3.09 is something positive to carry forward into next season.” That’s certainly true as the hope entering 2017 was for Kevin to become a solid number one or two starter and that simply hasn’t happened yet.

Per MASN, Gausman was 3-7 with a 6.47 ERA in his first 16 starts, and before Tuesday was 8-3 with a 3.30 ERA in his last 16 starts. Despite Tuesday’s poor showing, 11 wins is a career high and for the second straight year he made more than 30 total starts. The trend in the positive direction and overall durability offers hope for 2018. Clearly, for Baltimore to contend in the AL East, Gausman, as well as Dylan Bundy and several TBD new pitchers, need to pick up their games.

Yacabonis also hit hard; McCutchen stays hot

Jimmy Yacabonis replaced Gausman and Andrew McCutchen greeted him with a single. At this point, McCutchen was a triple away from the cycle. Josh Bell followed with a single, as did David Freese and Pittsburgh had the bases loaded with zero outs.

Gregory Polanco plated a run on a force out, Elias Diaz grounded into a double play and Yacabonis was out of the inning with the O’s now trailing 7-0.

The O’s first and only run came in the sixth on a homerun to right center off the bat of Chris Davis. It was the 26th bomb of the year for Crush.

Not to be outdone, McCutchen – yes, the same Andrew McCutchen that keeps appearing in this recap – hit his second homerun of the night to make it 10-1. The sixth inning wasn’t over and McCutchen was 4-4 with eight RBI, two homeruns and two curtain calls. Yacabonis gave up the three-run bomb after retiring the first two Pirates in the inning.

After two rough innings from Yacabonis – fortunately he was good in his other September appearances – Donnie Hart came on to pitch the seventh and Brad Brach the eighth.

At the end of the game, it was time to “Raise the Jolly Roger.” The O’s were in the loss column Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

Notes and Wednesday’s game

The Pirates visited Camden Yards on June 6 and 7 and the Orioles won both games. Baltimore still leads the season series 2-1.

Adam Jones was not in the starting lineup Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

With his homerun Tuesday, Chris Davis has a five-game hitting streak.

Many Machado’s seven game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-4.

Trey Mancini’s 14 game hitting streak was extended to 15 with a double in the top of the fourth inning.

Caleb Joseph played third base in the eighth inning.

Since September 6, the Orioles record is 4-15. This fact obviously spelled doom for the 2017 season.

Orioles bench coach John Russell managed the Pirates from 2008-2010 compiling a record of 186-299.

Pedro Alvarez returned to PNC Park for the first time as a visiting player after having several productive seasons there from 2010-15.

Wednesday at 7:05pm the Orioles play the Pirates again. Gabriel Ynoa (2-2, 3.41) is scheduled to face Chad Kuhl (7-11, 4.31).