Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman pitches a gem in Birds’ win

Kevin Gausman gave the Baltimore Orioles the start they’ve been wanting for some time last night in Toronto. Well, I say that…however this is only his third turn through the rotation this year. But needless to say, Gausman put it all together last night to give the Orioles their third quality start of the young season. Gausman’s line: 6.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K.

Toronto is traditionally a tough place to pitch, and not just for the Orioles. Granted the Orioles seem to struggle there more than other teams for whatever reason, but the dimensions of the park and the strange bounces off the turf give pitchers across the league fits. But in a sense, the O’s are catching Toronto at the right time, as they’re struggling mightily. Sometimes it matters when you play certain teams, and the Orioles are certainly hoping that they’re clear out of town whenever Toronto breaks out of their funk.

Buck Showalter heaped praise on Gausman after the game, pointing out how good he was over his six innings (quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports):

He was good, really good. A well-pitched game. We got in here about 4 or 4:30 (a.m.) like everybody does over the course of the season, and we needed a well-pitched game. We got it from Darren (O’Day), who has had two good games in a row and that’s good to see. Brachie and Zach were going to pitch tonight regardless because of four days off. We needed all of them.

The game was a scoreless tie through four innings, with both teams occasionally getting a runner in scoring position and threatening. However Jonathan Schoop finally broke through in the top of the fifth with an RBI-double, and the O’s had a 1-0 lead. The Birds tried to get two on that play, however Mancini was thrown out at home plate trying to score. Some might question the decision to send him, but in a game that was shaping up to have runs at a premium, better to try to get everything you can.

Later in the inning J.J. Hardy‘s RBI single gave the O’s a 2-0 lead. Toronto would cut the lead to 2-1 on a Donaldson RBI-double in the last of the sixth, however Donaldson pulled up lame on the base paths and had to leave the gave. It’s unclear if he’s looking at a potential DL situation or not, but the injury didn’t look good.

The Orioles’ bullpen was fairly solid, however there was some angst at the end before Zach Britton could record his 53rd consecutive save. He had runners at first and second with one out, and uncorked a wild pitch to move both runners (one of which was the would-be winning run) into scoring position. However J.J. Hardy made perhaps the biggest play of the game in looking the runner back to third and throwing to first on a soft grounder in the infield for the second out, and then a line drive to center field ended the game as the O’s improved to 6-2 on the season.

The Orioles also made a flurry of roster moves, both before and after the game. It appears that Alec Asher (acquired just before the season from Philadelphia for a PTBNL) is going to be starting tomorrow afternoon’s game, in essence as the fifth starter. He’s in Toronto on the “taxi squad,” but hasn’t officially been called up as of yet. He’s being joined by Stefan Crichton, and as a result Oliver Drake was DFA’d off the roster.

The O’s then proceeded to trade Drake to Milwaukee, along with their 2016-17 international signing bonus draft pick. In return, they got pitcher Damien Magnifico, who was immediately optioned to Norfolk. So in essence they’ve called up some of their depth, but they’ve also replaced it. And while Drake wasn’t a longterm solution in the bullpen, they were able to move him and do some justice by him in the long run.

The series in Toronto continues tonight at Rogers Centre. Wade Miley will get the start for the Orioles, and he’ll be opposed by Toronto’s Aaron Sanchez. Game time is set for just after 7 PM.

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