Kevin Gausman pitches six scoreless innings as the O’s beat the Rays

Kevin Gausman provided the Orioles with another outstanding start today, and during an afternoon where runs were hard to come by, they sure needed it.

Gausman went six scoreless innings and Nelson Cruz ended his homer drought as the Orioles beat Tampa Bay 2-0 at Tropicana Field. The Orioles took two of three in the series and improved to 37-34 for the season.

This was the Orioles’ sixth shutout of the year and their third in the last 10 games.

They are 11-5 in American League East road games and are 4-0-1 in five division road series this season.

Gausman followed up his recent strong starts against Oakland and Toronto with another one this afternoon. Gausman gave up five hits with one walk and five strikeouts. He improved to 3-1 with an ERA of 2.74 in four starts after an 111-pitch outing.

Gausman was in immediate trouble as a walk, single and error loaded the bases for the Rays with no outs in the first inning. But he then struck out James Loney and Ben Zobrist and got David DeJesus to fly out to end a 35-pitch inning.

Over his last three starts, Gausman is 3-0 with an ERA of 0.95. Over 19 innings, he has given up 14 hits and two runs with five walks and 14 strikeouts.

This was the Orioles’ ninth quality start in the last 10 games and their starters have an ERA of 2.10 in that stretch.

The game’s first run was unearned as the O’s pushed one across against Alex Cobb in the fifth. Nick Markakis reached on a two-out error and scored on a Steve Pearce RBI double. Pearce went 2-for-4 with two doubles and a walk.

Cruz hit a solo homer, his 22nd, in the eighth off Kirby Yates to make it a 2-0 game. That ended a 14-game homerless run for Cruz, dating to June 3.

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