Pearce, Trumbo grab a ‘big one’

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Jon Me­oli jme­oli@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/JonMe­oli

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.”

KATHY WIL­LENS/ASSOCIATED PRESS

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