Showalter's plan backfires in Orioles' loss to Angels
ANAHEIM, Calif. — When Buck Showalter was managing the Arizona Diamondbacks, he once ordered Barry Bonds intentionally walked with the bases loaded.
So it wasn't much of a stretch on Sunday when the Baltimore Orioles' skipper instructed Brian Matusz to intentionally pass Los Angeles Angels sluggers Mike Trout and Albert Pujols in the 11th inning with two out and a runner at second. The plan backfired.
Matusz gave up an RBI single to David Murphy that sent the Baltimore Orioles to a 5-4 loss on Sunday.
"I was just trying to give us the best chance to win," said Showalter, who last season won his third manager of the year award.
Carlos Perez led off the 11th with a double against rookie Chaz Roe (2-2) and Johnny Giavotella bunted a third strike foul while trying to advance him. Matusz came in to face Kole Calhoun and slipped a called third strike past him, then walked Trout and Pujols. But Murphy drove a 3-2 pitch over the head of left fielder David Lough to end it.
Murphy assessed the situation and figured the Orioles would walk two of the majors' best hitters.
"I turned to C.J. Cron and said: 'If he gets Kole out, are they going to walk both of those guys to get to me? Sure enough, they did it, and that added a little fuel to my competitive fire right there.
"(Matusz) would have guts if he was going to throw an off-speed pitch right there — because if he bounces it, he's going to be kicking himself if he walks in the winning run," Murphy added. "So he definitely wanted to throw something in the strike zone to make be beat him instead of beat himself, and I knew I was probably going to get a good pitch to hit."
Rookie Trevor Gott (3-0) pitched two innings for the victory.
Orioles right-hander Miguel Gonzalez gave up four runs and seven hits in 4 2/3 innings, including Murphy's three-run homer in the third and Calhoun's solo shot in the first. Both had to be sorted out by video review.
Jered Weaver allowed two runs and four hits over five innings in his first start after seven weeks on the disabled list, striking out seven and walking none. The three-time All-Star hadn't pitched for the Angels since June 20 because of inflammation in his left hip.
Staked to a 4-2 lead, Weaver was one out away from qualifying for a win when he experienced some discomfort on the top of his right thumb in the fifth.
Trainer Rick Smith worked on Weaver while manager Mike Scioscia intently looked on. The 10-year veteran right-hander made it through the inning with help from third baseman Conor Gillaspie, who robbed Manny Machado of a hit with a diving stop in the hole.
"I was anxious, nervous and just itching to get back out there," Weaver said. "The first inning I think I let the emotions and the adrenaline get the best of me. I was kind of erratic, but I was able to stay within myself after that and settled in. Those last four innings were money. It was just nice to be able to contribute again."
Four-time Gold Glove center fielder Adam Jones temporarily helped maintain the Orioles' one-run lead in the second with a sprinting over-the-shoulder grab of Chris Iannetta's drive to the warning track with two on and two out. In the 10th, he robbed Taylor Featherston of extra bases with a similar play at full speed.
"We play good defense, that's a constant," Jones said. "It was a great, well-played game. Both sides competed, both sides grinded it out, and they got the big hit when they needed it."
Orioles: LHP Wei-Yin Chen (5-6) gets the assignment for the opener of a three-game series at Seattle. The four-year veteran already has matched his loss total of last season, which ended with a 16-6 record.
Angels: RHP Matt Shoemaker (5-7) opposes Chris Sale Monday night in the opener of a three-game set against the White Sox at Chicago.