Gal­lardo al­lows two hits, eludes trou­ble

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Ed­uardo A. Encina eencina@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­dieInTheYard

NEW YORK — The last time Ori­oles right-han­der Yo­vani Gal­lardo pitched at Yan­kee Sta­dium, he suf­fered the short­est start of his big league ca­reer, last­ing just 11⁄ in­nings.

The im­pli­ca­tions of Gal­lardo’s start Fri­day night were much greater: He could pitch the Ori­oles one step closer to a post­sea­son berth.

Gal­lardo held the New York Yan­kees to one run on two hits over six in­nings in an 8-1 win be­fore an an­nounced 33,995, though con­stant show­ers kept the ac­tual at­ten­dance well be­low that num­ber.

With the win, the Ori­oles passed the Toronto Blue Jays for the first Amer­i­can League wild­card spot with two games re­main­ing in the reg­u­lar sea­son. Toronto lost to the Bos­ton Red Sox, 5-3, on Fri­day.

Post­ing his sec­ond straight qual­ity start, Gal­lardo (6-8) didn’t al­low a hit un­til Brian McCann’s one-out sin­gle in the fourth. At least one bat­ter got on base in five of his six in­nings, but de­spite Gal­lardo’s four walks, just three base run­ners reached sec­ond against him.

The Yan­kees’ only run off Gal­lardo came in the fourth on Mark Teix­eira’s sac­ri­fice fly. Gal­lardo, who has bat­tled firstin­ning strug­gles, pitched a score­less open­ing frame af­ter Ja­coby Ells­bury opened the game re­ceiv­ing base on a catcher’sin­ter­fer­ence call in the bat­ter’s box. Gal­lardo re­grouped, re­tir­ing the next three hit­ters to get out of the jam.

“This past week or so, ev­ery­one’s im­por­tant,” Gal­lardo said. “Ev­ery game’s re­ally im­por­tant for us, and we un­der­stand what we have to do.” Rare com­pany: Jonathan Schoop’s three-run homer in the fifth in­ning Fri­day was his 25th of the sea­son, giv­ing the Ori­oles five play­ers with 25 homers or more.

The Ori­oles are the 12th team in ma­jor league his­tory with at least five play­ers with at least 25 home runs in the same sea­son. The last team to do so was the 2012 Chicago White Sox, who also had five play­ers with 25 or more homers. The ma­jor league record is held by the 2003 Bos­ton Red Sox, who had six such play­ers.

“We got a power team, and ev­ery­body is ca­pa­ble to catch one,” Schoop said. “The power is just one thing. We pitch, we de­fend and we prove that we score not only when we hit home runs.” Elite form: Over the first four games of this fi­nal reg­u­lar-sea­son road trip, Ori­oles starters have a 1.85 ERA, al­low­ing just five earned runs in 241⁄ in­nings.

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