MIAMI (AP) — For a lefty in limbo, Brian Matusz pitched well Sunday.
Matusz threw two scoreless innings for the Baltimore Orioles in their 5-2 loss to Miami, a day after he was ejected for having a sticky substance on his non-throwing arm.
The Orioles await a decision from Major League Baseball regarding further punishment. The Brewers’ Will Smith was suspended for eight games Friday by MLB for having a foreign substance on his arm.
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter has long complained baseballs aren’t tacky enough, and that’s at the root of the temptation to use an illegal substance, he said.
“I’m not going to try to justify anything. It’s a deeper issue,” Showalter said before the game. “It’s the same reason why hitters have pine tar. Why is there resin on the field? Why do we put mud on the ball?”
“We all understand that the crux of the problem is gripping the ball,” he said.
The Orioles’ problem Sunday was again a lack of offense. They went 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position and didn’t homer in the series.
The Marlins won their second game in a row after losing eight straight and finished 2-8 on their homestand, which included a managerial change. New manager Dan Jennings improved to 2-5 with the Marlins, who are last in the NL East.
“They are a good team,” Showalter said. “Everyone knows they are capable of better.”
The Orioles fell to 2-13 all-time in Miami. They were making their first visit since 2009.
“Offensively it’s been a challenge for us here,” Showalter said. “The first thing you do is tip your hat to their pitching.”
The Orioles’ Miguel Gonzalez (5-3) allowed five runs and a career-high 10 hits in four-plus innings. The final run came on a homer by Martin Prado, who fouled off five 3-2 pitches before connecting on the 12th pitch.
“You’re trying to make a perfect pitch with a 3-2 count,” Gonzalez said. “I tried to go in, but it was middle in. That’s really his happy zone. I just missed my spot. You tip your hat.”
The Orioles ended a streak of 19 consecutive scoreless innings in the sixth when Jimmy Paredes’ sacrifice fly made it 5-1.
They loaded the bases with one out in the seventh to force Koehler from the game, but Brad Hand got pinch hitter Steve Pearce to hit into a double play.
Ryan Lavarnway grounded out with the bases loaded to end the eighth.
Paredes, who came into the game leading the AL in hitting at .352, went 0 for 3 and was robbed of a hit by second baseman Dee Gordon.
Showalter chose to walk major league hitting leader Dee Gordon to load the bases with two out in the fourth, and Marcell Ozuna made the strategy backfire by hitting a two-run single.
Tom Koehler (3-3) retired the first 13 batters and allowed one run in 6 1-3 innings.
A.J. Ramos pitched a perfect ninth for his second save in four chances, completing a six-hitter. But Showalter wasn’t impressed by the pitching changes made by the Marlins’ new manager.
“They used what, three guys three days in a row out of the bullpen to get it done?” Showalter said. “We’ll see how that works down the road.”
Orioles: Return home to open a three-game series against Houston on Monday, when LHP Wei-Yin Chen (1-3, 2.90) starts against LHP Dallas Keuchel (6-0, 1.67).
Marlins: Hit the road for a week and start a three-game set at Pittsburgh on Monday, when RHP David Phelps (2-1, 3.21) starts against RHP Charlie Morton, making his 2015 debut.
(Copyright 2015 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)