Still think Kevin Gausman is overmatched and should be sent back to the minors?
Gausman went six innings for the first time in three major league starts and held the potent Tigers attack to one run - on Prince Fielder’s homer in the fourth. He allowed five hits, walked none and struck out four.
Gausman’s 96th and final pitch of the afternoon was a 97 mph fastball that Miguel Cabrera took for a called third strike. Gausman painted the black. And he made the orange proud today.
Gausman threw 42 pitches through two innings before getting quicker outs. Cabrera made him work, striking out on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, but Gausman kept battling.
Cabrera, the likely choice as American League Player of the Month for May and a Triple Crown threat with a .369 average, 17 homers and 65 RBIs before today, grounded into two double plays and struck out.
Gausman’s fastball was routinely clocked at 97 mph, but he also mixed in his slider and changeup, and he kept the ball down in the zone for much of the afternoon.
If kept on turn, Gausman would start again Saturday against the Rays at Tropicana Field. The Orioles are off Monday, and the starters in Houston are listed as Chris Tillman on Tuesday, Freddy Garcia on Wednesday and Miguel Gonzalez on Thursday. Jason Hammel would start Friday against the Rays.
Steve Johnson was warming in the bullpen as Gausman completed the top of the sixth, but Brian Matusz replaced him and will now take over for the rookie with Fielder, Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta coming up.
Tigers starter Rick Porcello retired nine in a row before Nick Markakis singled with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. The Orioles have been held to three hits.
Markakis is 7-for-16 lifetime against Porcello.
Today’s attendance: 39,182. The three-game series drew 124,376.
Update: The Tigers scored once off Matusz in the top of the seventh on a leadoff double by Fielder and singles by Victor Martinez and Jhonny Peralta. But Alex Avila bunted into a 2-5-3 double play - you don’t see it very often, and Manny Machado’s lethal arm made it possible - and Ramon Santiago flied out.
Chris Davis led off the bottom half of the inning with his 20th home run, on a changeup that disappeared into the right field seats.
Tigers 2, Orioles 1
This is the third 20-homer season for Davis, who has 52 RBIs this season.
Davis hit his 20th home run last year on Aug. 19.
Update II: Danny Valencia delivered the Orioles’ second pinch-hit of the season in the seventh inning, an RBI single off reliever Phil Coke to tie the game 2-2, and Nate McLouth singled to produce a 3-2 lead.
Valencia was batting for Ryan Flaherty after back-to-back singles by Chris Dickerson and J.J. Hardy off Porcello. Valencia is now 3-for-5 against Coke.
Chris Snyder bunted into a force at third base, but McLouth looped a single into center field to break the tie. He was 4-for-22 against left-handers.
Darren O’Day will pitch the eighth inning, as the Orioles attempt to win this series.
Update III: Alexi Casilla provided a big insurance run in the eighth with a two-out RBI double over left fielder Andy Dirks’ head after the Tigers walked Hardy intentionally. Casilla has two RBIs with the Orioles.
Jim Johnson stranded a runner in the ninth for his 18th save in the Orioles’ 4-2 victory over the Tigers.
Johnson has converted his last three save chances. Cabrera bounced a single up the middle leading off the ninth today, but Fielder and Martinez flied to left, and Peralta lined to second.
The Orioles improve to 32-25. They fly to Houston Monday evening.