O’s game blog: Kevin Gausman pitches Toronto series finale

TORONTO - The Orioles are still looking for their first win on this 10-game road trip after Tuesday’s walk-off loss at Toronto. The Orioles went 0-3 at Cleveland and have lost back-to-back games at Rogers Centre by one run heading into tonight’s series finale.

At 71-74, the Orioles have lost six in a row, seven of eight and nine of 12 games. A seven-game win streak preceded this stretch and had the Orioles at three games over the .500 mark. They begin play tonight 4 1/2 games back for the second American League wild card with just 17 games remaining, and with five teams between them and the Twins, who currently hold the second wild card.

The Orioles need a win tonight to avoid being swept three straight for the eighth time this year. They lost three straight at Kansas City on May 12-14, at home against Minnesota on May 22-24 and at Houston on May 26-28. They were also swept in New York by the Yankees on June 9-11, at Milwaukee on July 3-5, at home versus the Chicago Cubs on July 14-16 and at Cleveland to begin this trip.

Kevin-Gausman-gray-sidebar.jpgOn the mound tonight, right-hander Kevin Gausman (10-10, 4.99 ERA) will make his 31st start, which will be a new career high. Gausman has thrown 160 2/3 innings and his career high, set last year, is 179 2/3.

With a blister on the index finger of his right hand, Gausman had this start pushed back a day after he was originally listed to start last night’s game. Gausman said he is fine and that he often gets blisters.

“You know, I get one every start,” he said. “My last start it was a little worse than it has been. But threw a ‘pen (Sunday) and felt fine. Should be fine.

“I think this time of year, anytime you get an extra day, you can use it. You need to take advantage of it. Normally, I would only take one day off from throwing, but knowing this time I had an extra day, I took two days off from throwing. This time of year, anything that can help your body feel better the day you start is always a good thing.”

Gausman gave up five runs in three innings against the Yankees in his last start. But over his past nine starts, he is 5-3 with a 2.67 ERA and has allowed two runs or less seven times. In five 2017 starts against Toronto, he is 2-0 with a 1.57 ERA, allowing five runs over 28 2/3 innings.

Right-hander Marcus Stroman (11-7, 3.18 ERA) will make his 30th start for the Blue Jays. His last time out, he yielded four runs over six innings versus Detroit. Stroman is 2-2 with an ERA of 3.00 in 11 second-half starts. He has made two starts against the Orioles, going 1-0 with an ERA of 0.00. He has pitched 9 1/3 scoreless and took a line drive off his right elbow and left a start in Baltimore Sept. 2 after just 1 2/3 innings.

After his strong start last night - where he gave up one run over six innings - O’s right-hander Dylan Bundy now has a career ERA of 0.76 versus Toronto. He has allowed two earned runs over 23 2/3 innings in seven games, including three starts.

Shortstop Tim Beckham homered in the eighth inning Tuesday to give the Orioles a 2-1 lead they would not hold. He went 2-for-4 and has hit safely in 34 of 40 games with the Orioles, batting .343 with nine homers and 22 RBIs. Beckham is batting .583 (14-for-24) with runners in scoring position with Baltimore.

The Orioles won their first four series this year against Toronto. But they went 2-2 in a recent series at Oriole Park and are 0-2 in this series. The Orioles are 11-7 in the season series, going 6-3 in Baltimore and 5-4 at Rogers Centre. Toronto has won four in a row for the first time since July 24-27.

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