The Orioles' right-hander was all Baltimore could have hoped for in a 12-inning, 3-2 loss to the Yankees on Wednesday night in Game 3 of the American League Division Series. Pitching in as unfriendly an October environment as there is, the 27-year-old allowed just one run in seven innings in his first career postseason start. When he left, the O's led, 2-1.
That disappeared when Raul Ibanez hit a pair of solo shots, first in the ninth to tie, then in the 12th to win. Baltimore slinks into Game 4 on Thursday down two games to one.
"It breaks your heart," said Gonzalez, who made just his 16th Major League start. "But we've been doing great. Can't complain, the guys have been battling all year. But things happen. It's part of baseball."
Gonzalez struck out eight and walked none, numbers that added up to a few historic notables. The whiff total is the second-most by a rookie pitcher against the Yanks in a playoff game, behind only Don Newcombe's 11 in Game 1 of the 1949 World Series.
No rookie had allowed one run or fewer against the Yankees in the playoffs since another Dodgers pitcher, Joe Black, did it in Game 4 of the 1952 World Series. And according to ESPN Stats and Info, Gonzalez joins the company of Cliff Lee. They're the only pitchers since 1950 to have eight or more strikeouts and no walks in a postseason road game against the Yanks.
Lee did it in Game 1 of the 2009 World Series.
"It's impressive. He's been there for us all year and he came up clutch tonight," reliever Brian Matusz said. "He threw well and he gave us a chance to win. That's all you can ask for from a starting pitcher."
Said manager Buck Showalter: "Miguel was outstanding tonight."
The lone run Gonzalez gave up came in the third, on a Derek Jeter triple that perhaps could've been caught by center fielder Adam Jones.
Gonzalez had downed the Yankees both times he faced them in the regular season, but once the game left his hands, the third fell out of reach.
"It's probably going to be tough," Gonzalez said heading into Game 4. "But we've been battling all year, so we're not going to worry about that right now and just come out [Thursday]. Our guys are going to come out and do what they have to do."