Kevin Gausman pitches 7 2/3 scoreless as O’s blank Rays in Game 1

He got a few swings and misses early in his outing. He pitched to contact later and the Orioles’ infield defense was up for that. Kevin Gausman pitched 7 2/3 scoreless this afternoon as the Orioles blanked the Rays 5-0 in the opener of the day-night doubleheader at Camden Yards.

Gausman needed a good outing and could have really used a win today, and he got both. He gave up just four singles with no walks and seven strikeouts. He threw 113 pitches, 75 for strikes and is now 1-5 with an ERA of 3.93. It was his second scoreless start of the year. He pitched eight scoreless versus the Yankees on May 5.

Kevin Gausman white back.pngThe Orioles improved to 43-30 by winning their third straight game and their fifth in the last seven games. They opened up a two-game lead atop the American League East over the Red Sox, who play later tonight. The Orioles are 5-2 against the Rays (4-0 at home), allowing just 13 runs in those seven games. Tampa Bay falls to 31-41 and has lost nine in a row.

This was Gausman’s first win since last Sept. 30 against Toronto. Over his previous six starts, he was 0-4 with an ERA of 6.32. He had allowed 10 runs and 16 hits over eight innings his past two starts and had worked to an ERA of 5.75 in June. But he was outstanding today, and Oliver Drake got the final four outs to complete the Orioles’ fourth shutout of the 2016 season.

After they stranded two in the first inning, the Orioles scored two for Gausman in the second. Jonathan Schoop led off with a double, his 13th hit in his last 26 at-bats. Pedro Alvarez walked. Schoop scored on J.J. Hardy’s single to center. After Francisco Pena bounced into a double play, Adam Jones’ two-out single to center made it a 2-0 O’s edge.

The Orioles made it 3-0 in the sixth on singles by Schoop, Hardy and Pena. For Pena, it was his third RBI. They made it 5-0 an inning later on an Alvarez two-run single to center off lefty Enny Romero. Alvarez has 15 RBIs his last 16 games.

Tonight in the second game at 7:05 p.m., Chris Tillman (10-1, 3.11 ERA) pitches against right-hander Jake Odorizzi (3-3, 3.63 ERA). The Orioles are 13-2 in Tillman’s 15 starts this year.

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