Pearce, Trumbo grab a ‘big one’
NEW YORK — After a pair of brutal losses upon their arrival this weekend in New York, the Orioles made it look easy in getting back on track and avoiding a series sweep with Sunday’s 5-0 win over the Yankees.
Steve Pearce, batting leadoff for the first time in his career, drove in three runs on three hits, including one to break a scoreless tie in the sixth inning, and Kevin Gausman posted his second straight scoreless start with seven strong innings before an announced 38,002 at Yankee Stadium.
“It was tight all game, and Gausman kept us in there,” Pearce said. “Hats off to him and hats off to CC [ Sabathia]. He pitched a great game. We were scuffling there at the beginning, but Gausman, he kept putting up zeros for us. Kind of took some of pressure off the offense. Once we started going, it kind of clicked.”
Pearce has been dealing with an elbow injury for the past three weeks, and left the game after the seventh inning after a minor aggravation of that injury on a check swing in the sixth inning.
In the eighth, the Orioles (71-59) extended their lead to 5-0 after third baseman Manny Machado’s third hit of the day put him on base for designated hitter Mark Trumbo, who drove his 40th home run of the season into the Steve Pearce singles in two runs in the seventh inning. It was one of his three hits Sunday, including a home run for the game’s first run in the sixth. Orioles bullpen.
Gausman (6-10) struck out nine Yankees (67-62), didn’t issue a walk and scattered seven hits in seven innings to bring his ERA down to 3.73. He ran into trouble only in the fourth inning, when three straight Yankees singled to open the inning but none scored.
“Anytime you lose two game to start off a series, that third guy has got to come in and shut the door,” Gausman said. “You always try to get one. You never want to get swept. It was a big one for us, and it was good to get one going into a big series coming up.” Trumbo joins impressive group: Trumbo joined Orioles lore with his 40-homer year, the eighth in franchise history. He’s the fifthfastest player in team history to reach that mark.
“It’s hard to have a goal like that coming into the year because it’s such a lofty number,” Trumbo said. “At least, for me it has been, because I haven’t gotten there before. But I think I’ve been inspired by the guys around me. This year, especially, that’s probably helped out a bit.”
The free-agent-to-be has 10 home runs in August and seven hits that aren’t home runs this month. Lineup shuffle: Without center fielder Adam Jones, and with a left-hander in Sabathia (8-11) on the mound, Orioles manager Buck Showalter went with a unique lineup Sunday featuring Pearce batting leadoff and shortstop J.J. Hardy batting second.
Showalter said it was “by necessity,” and it paid off.
Their typical No. 2 hitter, left fielder Hyun Soo Kim, batted ninth. He went 0-for-3 with a walk, and still does not have a hit against left-handed pitching this season. Hunter debuts: Newly signed reliever Tommy Hunter, who spent parts of five seasons with the Orioles before they dealt him to the Chicago Cubs on July 31, 2015, allowed a single and had a strikeout in a scoreless eighth inning before passing off to closer Zach Britton.
“It felt pretty good,” Hunter said. “I think familiar faces [help], and ... it’s pretty much the same group of guys. They make you feel comfortable when you leave and just as welcoming coming back.”