BALTIMORE — Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman made a strong case to remain in the club’s starting rotation on Thursday night against a Toronto Blue Jays team possessing one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball.
The 23-year-old prized pitching prospect held Toronto to just one run on five hits over six innings as Baltimore took the first game of its four-game series against the American League East-leading Jays, 4-2, in front of an announced 17,403 at Camden Yards.
Over two starts since being recalled from Class AAA Norfolk, Gausman has handcuffed two of baseball’s best lineups in baseball, allowing just two runs in 13 innings, recording quality starts in both outings.
Gausman, the Orioles’ 2012 first-round pick and current No. 2 prospect, now makes is nearly impossible for the team to send him back to the minors.
Gausman gave the Orioles their fourth straight quality start. Baltimore’s beleaguered rotation – the starters’ 4.37 ERA ranks 11th in the AL – has suddenly caught steam, allowing just two runs over their last 27 innings over the past four games, pitching to an 0.69 ERA over that stretch. Orioles starting pitchers have allowed two or fewer runs in 11 of the past 14 games.
Meanwhile, the Orioles (34-31) have won three of their last four and outscored their opponents 14-3 over the past four games. The Blue Jays (39-29) have lost five of their last six.
The Orioles took an early 3-0 lead on Toronto left-hander and 10-game winner Mark Buehrle, who entered the night having allowed more than two runs just two times in 13 previous starts.