BALTIMORE – Kevin Gausman's name was added to the growing list of Orioles pitchers who've delivered quality starts this week. Gausman delivered his second straight solid start, and the team's fourth in a row.
Gausman gave up just one run in six innings as the Orioles beat the Toronto Blue Jays 4-2 before 17,403 at Oriole Park on Thursday night.
After two games with more than three hours of rain delays, this one went off without a hitch though lots of fans were probably scared off by the bad forecast.
Gausman (2-1), who allowed a run in seven innings against Oakland last Saturday followed it up against the American League East leaders.
The Blue Jays (39-29) lead the Orioles (34-31) by 3 ½.
Gausman, Bud Norris, Chris Tillman and Wei-Yin Chen have combined to allow just two runs in 27 innings in the last four games.
“I think we always try to one-up each other. I wanted to go nine, shutty tonight. It's great and I think we're just kind of finding our rhythm right now,” Gausman said.
Miguel Gonzalez is on the disabled list, and could return as soon as Sunday. As well as Gausman is pitching now, he looks as if he’s forced his way into the rotation.
“He's done what it takes to be considered. He's taking care of his end of it. And the good news for us is we've got some other people capable of pitching well, too. Miggy was throwing the ball well before he got hurt, so that bodes well. We'll see how everybody feels the next day or two and take a look and see where we are,” manager Buck Showalter said.
“Just hope he's starting to grasp what it takes to consistently help this team win.”
Nick Markakis led off the first with a single. Delmon Young hit a home run to left, his second of the season, and his fourth in 46 at-bats off Mark Buehrle (10-3) for a 2-0 lead.
In the second, Manny Machado led off with a double, snapping an 0-for-18 skid. Jonathan Schoop bunted him to third, and Machado scored on Caleb Joseph’s single for a 3-0 lead.
Toronto’s Jose Reyes led off with an infield single. Melky Cabrera grounded to third. After Machado’s throw to Chris Davis at first, Reyes took off for third, and the third baseman tagged Reyes out for a double play.
Gausman took a shot in the right hip when the Blue Jays’ Anthony Gose lined one back at him in the third, but stayed in the game.
In the fifth, Juan Francisco doubled, the first extra-base hit against Orioles pitching after 23 innings without one. Gose bunted him to third, and he scored on Cabrera’ single up the middle.
Gausman allowed one run on five hits, walking three and striking out three in six innings.
A year ago Gausman came up from Bowie, struggled and returned to pitch in the bullpen. It helped.
“I feel like last year when I came up and started five games I was still like, every stadium I went to I was like wow, there’s so many people here. Now I feel like I’m kind of used to it. Being in the bullpen I think really got me used to the everyday grind of major league baseball,” Gausman said.
Markakis has noticed the difference when Orioles starters are more effective.
“If you can get your team off the field as quick as possible and get back up to the plate, i won't say it makes it easy, [but] it makes your confidence as hitters go up because you know you're going to be back in there and that's how you get on little streaks and you get things going,” Markakis said. “[Gausman has] really come a long way since the first time he's been up here."
Brian Matusz pitched a perfect seventh.
The Orioles chased Buehrle in the seventh. Schoop doubled and moved to third on Joseph’s bunt. Markakis’ double off the right field scoreboard gave the Orioles a 4-1 lead.
That hit gave Markakis 1,453 for his Orioles career, one ahead of Brian Roberts for seventh place. Ken Singleton is two ahead with 1,455.
“You look at all the guys ahead of me it’s pretty cool to be a part of, definitely. But I don’t look too much into it right now especially where we are at this point in the season. I’m just looking to do my job and if stuff like that happens, it happens,” Markakis said.
In the eighth, Jose Bautista singled off Ryan Webb and stole third and scored on an infield out by Juan Encarnacion.
Zach Britton pitched a scoreless ninth for his sixth save.
COMING UP: Ubaldo Jimenez (2-7, 5.01) faces Drew Hutchison (4-4, 3.96) on Friday.