By Alejandro Zuniga
The Baltimore Sun
8:15 AM EDT, June 25, 2014
On Tuesday, the Orioles threatened to complete a come-from-behind victory in the ninth inning for the second straight night over the Chicago White Sox at Camden Yards.
But Ryan Flaherty hit into a game-ending double play as the Orioles suffered a 4-2 loss.
Here's a look at one positive and one negative aspect of Tuesday night's game.
Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez struggled to get through five innings, giving up three runs, nine hits and three walks. But left-hander T.J. McFarland helped to save the bullpen by pitching two scoreless innings of relief, continuing his stellar June.
McFarland hit the first batter he faced to lead off the sixth and later allowed an infield single, but he breezed through the inning with just six pitches, ending it by inducing a double play. The left-hander then worked a perfect seventh.
Through 14 2/3 innings in seven appearances this month, McFarland has allowed just one run (0.61 ERA). He has seven strikeouts and just two walks in that span, which has lowered his season ERA to 2.81.
“He’s got that presentation and that slot with his arm,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He presents a lot of challenges for hitters. Had a couple really good breaking ball pitches, too.”
Because Showalter pulled McFarland -- who threw just 16 total pitches -- after two innings, he could be available in tonight's series finale.
The ninth inning exposed the Orioles’ lack of hitting depth.
With two runners on base and one out in a three-run game, Showalter sent Delmon Young to pinch-hit as the tying run. Young, who was batting .440 in his last nine games before Tuesday, lined an RBI single to center field.
“You finally get the tying run to the plate, you want to give Delmon a pop at it,” Showalter said. “He did a good job. Just didn't quite get it in the air enough. He hit it hard enough to leave the park.”
Trailing, 4-2, Showalter needed a batter to turn the lineup over to Nick Markakis, but he didn’t have many options left on the bench.
Catcher Caleb Joseph, who was next in the order, is hitting .171. Outfielder David Lough, catcher Nick Hundley and second baseman Ryan Flaherty aren’t much better, batting .182, .229 and .216, respectively, heading into Tuesday's game.
Showalter inserted Lough as a pinch runner at first base and sent Flaherty to the plate. He grounded into a game-ending double play five pitches later.
“There's not a wrong or good,” the manager said. “I could have saved Delmon, but you never know what would happen there. ... It's a tough matchup for anybody.”
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