Gausman gets first win in relief
BALTIMORE – Kevin Gausman said he knew it was going to be a good day for him as soon as he donned his Superman socks. Once he put those special socks on, Gausman was truly the man of steel for the Orioles.
Following a subpar first major league start by T.J. McFarland, Gausman came to the rescue and threw a dazzling 4 1/3 innings, limiting the New York Yankees to three hits and lifted the Orioles to a 4-3 win before 40,041 at Oriole Park on Friday night.
All week, it seemed that Gausman, who was recalled on Monday, was being prepped for a start against the Yankees. Manager Buck Showalter decided that T.J. McFarland, not Gausman, would give his team the best chance to beat New York.
After McFarland left with a 3-0 deficit, Gausman came on and delivered a four strikeout performance with a new way of motivating himself.
“I was thinking last night about what the best relievers have and they have that bulldog mentality. That’s something I definitely tried to kind of do today,” Gausman said.
Gausman (1-3) hadn’t pitched in nine days and threw 55 pitches and didn’t walk a batter.
"Sometimes, when you put young pitchers in a come-to-the-rescue mode, there's a little different culture [when] they come into in a game,” Showalter said.
Nate McLouth’s fifth home run of the year with two outs in the seventh off CC Sabathia (8-6) was the big hit.
It hugged the right field line, and was his fifth of the season and his first since May 21 when his 10th inning shot beat New York (42-37). It evoked memories of McLouth’s ball in Game 5 of last October’s American League Division Series game at Yankee Stadium. That ball was called foul.
This one wasn’t.
“I wasn’t even out of the batter’s box before I thought that. Off the bat, I knew it had the distance, it just stayed true. It stayed straight, and I was happy about that,” McLouth said.
Tommy Hunter pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit and striking out three, for his second save.
Sabathia, deprived of his 200th career win, retired the first eight Orioles. Alexi Casilla grounded to third and reached when Alberto Gonzalez booted the ball. He set down the next seven hitters until McLouth led off the sixth with a single to center.
Casilla reached on an infield single, and after Nick Markakis popped out, Manny Machado hit his major league leading 37th double to score McLouth and Casilla. Machado moved to third on J.J. Hardy’s fly to center and scored on Adam Jones’ infield single.
Showalter credited Machado with helping turn the game around.
“It's a 90 foot gain that puts some pressure on a lot of people,” Showalter said.
“I saw him camping under the ball and in that situation there, you really don’t want to tag up especially with the ball in left center field, but he camped up and I thought I had a pretty good shot at it and I went for it,” Machado said.
On Tuesday, the Orioles didn’t have a hit for the first four innings. On Wednesday it was six, and this time, it was five.
“We didn't get anything until the sixth inning. We got everything in spurts. Let's try tomorrow to get a hit earlier in the game to not put any pressure on us late in the game,” Jones said.
The score was tied at 3 after six.
In the first, Brett Gardner led off with a double off McFarland. He scored two batters later on Robinson Cano’s RBI single.
The Yankees made it 3-0 in the third when Jayson Nix and Cano began the inning with singles. Nix scored on Vernon Wells’ single, and Cano scored on Chris Stewart’s soft single to center.
Showalter replaced McFarland with Gausman, making his first major league relief appearance.
McFarland pitched 2 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out four.
“I’m kind of upset with myself. I didn’t do as well as I thought I wanted to,” McFarland said.
On June 13, McFarland got his first major league win in a 13-inning game that Gausman started. The reverse was true
“I’m extremely excited and proud that we ended up winning the game. For him to go out there and throw four and a third, get his first W, for us to come back against Sabathia like that. I’d like to think that it takes away what happened, but it really, for me, it doesn’t,” McFarland said.
NOTES: Brian Roberts came out of Norfolk’s game after six innings because of rainy conditions. He’ll be activated on Sunday.
-Zach Britton (1-2, 5.51) starts against David Phelps (5-4, 4.01) on Saturday. Game time is 7:15 p.m.