Kevin Gausman showed Orioles fans some of his vast potential today, allowing just one run over six innings, and the O’s rallied for three runs in the seventh to beat Detroit 4-2 and take the series, two wins to one at Camden Yards.
Today’s attendance was 39,182 and the three-game series drew 124,376.
Gausman gave up five hits and just the one run - on a Prince Fielder homer. He didn’t walk a batter and fanned four. He threw 96 pitches, 63 for strikes, and lowered his ERA from 11.00 to 7.20.
Gausman was particularly effective against reigning league MVP Miguel Cabrera. He came up twice with a man on first against the right-hander and each time hit into a double play. Then Gausman struck him out looking to end a 1-2-3 sixth and that turned out to be the last batter he faced.
He had said earlier this week he needed to get back to pounding the ball down in the zone and he sure did that with his fastball today, while also showing a good slider and changeup. The biggest key though may have been his ability to locate his pitches and hit his spots against a Tigers team that had scored 15 runs and hit seven homers in the first two games of this series.
This was his first career quality start and just the third in the last 11 games for an O’s rotation that had an ERA of 5.80 over the previous 10 contests.
Jim Johnson pitched the ninth recording his third save in his last three chances and 18th on the year.
As for the offense, a very impressive last of the seventh pushed the O’s to victory.
Down 2-0 at that point to Rick Porcello, Chris Davis led off the inning with a solo homer to right. It was No. 20 for Davis and also his fourth in the last six games, seventh in the last 12 and 11th over his past 23 games.
Singles by Chris Dickerson and J.J. Hardy followed, and Phil Coke came on to pitch. Pinch-hitter Danny Valencia fell behind 0-2 in the count before he looped an RBI single to right center to tie the game. Nate McLouth followed one out later with a single to center for a 3-2 lead. McLouth had been 4-for-22 on the season against lefties until that clutch hit.
An Alexi Casilla RBI double in the eighth added a big insurance run for the Orioles, who improved their series record to 12-5-2.
Winning for the ninth time in the last 13 games, the Orioles improved to 32-25.
Today ended a tough stretch of 17 games against the Rays, Yankees, Blue Jays, Nats and Tigers, and the Orioles went 9-8 during the stretch after starting it 0-4.
After an off-day, Monday the Orioles begin a six-game road trip Tuesday night at Houston.