BALTIMORE — The Orioles called on pitching prospect Kevin Gausman for a spot start against the Oakland Athletics on Saturday night, and the 23-year-old responded by providing Baltimore with the best start of his major league career and an encouraging glimpse of what is possible for him at the big league level.
Gausman held an A’s team with the American League’s best record to just one run over a career-high seven innings in a 6-3 victory. The Orioles hit two homers, including David Lough’s two-run shot off former Baltimore closer Jim Johnson, who was making his first appearance at Camden Yards since being traded to Oakland.
The win — which came in front of a sellout crowd of 44,202 on Manny Machado bobblehead night — was Gausman’s first as a starter. He earned each of his three major league wins last year working out of the bullpen.
Gausman allowed just four hits and struck out six. He threw 102 pitches, the most he’s thrown in seven big league starts. No pitch was more important than the 99-mph fastball Gausman whizzed by Oakland cleanup hitter Brandon Moss with two on and two out and the tying run at the plate as he masterfully escaped a sixth-inning jam.
Gausman outpitched fellow first-round pick Sonny Gray, who came in fifth in the AL in ERA (2.45) and eighth in opponents batting average (.224). The Orioles (31-29) handed Gray his shortest outing of the season, scoring five runs off the right-hander, the most he’s allowed this season, over 51 / 3 innings.