O’s game blog: Orioles look to avoid the sweep in Houston

HOUSTON - Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman has made six starts this year, allowing two earned runs or less four times. But he is still looking for his first win of the season. Gausman (0-1, 2.70 ERA) will look to be a stopper tonight. He is out to help the Orioles end the season’s second three-game losing streak.

The Orioles have not scored much for Gausman this year, but maybe tonight is the night that changes. The Orioles are trying to avoid the season’s first four-game slide.

Kevin Gausman white back.pngGausman allowed just one run over 6 2/3 innings in his last start on Saturday at Anaheim. The Orioles were shut out in that game until Matt Wieters’ three-run homer in the ninth. Gausman has recorded four quality starts in 2016 and the Orioles are 3-3 in his starts. His last win was Sept. 30 against Toronto.

Tonight, Gausman pitches against right-hander Lance McCullers, who is 0-1 with a 5.91 ERA in two starts. He was activated from the Houston disabled list on May 13 after dealing with right shoulder soreness.

The 22-year-old McCullers is the youngest active starting pitcher in the majors and the third-youngest pitcher to make a start this season. Only right-hander Jose Berrios, at 21 years, 364 days, and right-hander Luis Severino, at 22 years and 95 days, made starts at a younger age.

Interestingly, the Orioles have faced both Minnesota’s Berrios and the Yankees’ Severino this season. They got three runs in five innings of Berrios and four runs over six innings against Severino.

McCullers made a start against the Orioles last year and it was rather memorable for him. On June 3, he pitched a complete-game four-hitter, allowing one run with 11 strikeouts. He became the first Astros rookie to toss a complete game since lefty Brett Oberholtzer on Sept. 20, 2013 at Cleveland. He also was the first Astros rookie to strike out 11 batters in a complete game since right-hander Roy Oswalt fanned 12 on Sept. 9, 2001 versus Milwaukee.

In this series at Minute Maid Park, the Orioles have five runs on 19 hits and 37 strikeouts. Their offense has produced a batting average of just .205 the last eight games, scoring three runs or less in six of those eight games.

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