ANAHEIM -- The Orioles came into their series opener against the Angels, an 8-4 loss Friday night, with their rotation averaging 5.7 innings per start -- tied for third-fewest in the American League. That's almost exactly what the O's got from Kevin Gausman, who lasted 5 2/3 innings. They needed six.
With two runners on, two outs and Baltimore holding onto a 4-3 lead, Gausman had Angels catcher Chris Iannetta in a 1-2 hole, a strike away from getting out of the inning. The young flamethrowing right-hander tried to throw a fastball by him, and he hit 99 mph. The pitch was also right over the plate, and Iannetta cranked a go-ahead two-run double over Nolan Reimold's head in deep left field, knocking Gausman out of the game. Baltimore never made up the deficit.
"The worst pitch I threw all day was the last one," Gausman said. "And that's definitely what's frustrating. I get out of that right there and it's a pretty solid outing.
"That was the worst one by far. It was pretty center-cut. I think I tried to overpower him a little bit too much."
Catcher Matt Wieters, who called for the fastball that Iannetta drove, said he was kicking himself over it after the game.
"Hindsight's always 20/20, but he'd seen quite a few fastballs," Wieters said. "You just know how great of a fastball Kevin has, so I didn't want to get beat on something less than his fastball. But breaking ball was something that ran through my mind first, and I just talked myself out of it."
The execution of the pitch, of course, probably had a bigger impact than the call. In that respect, manager Buck Showalter said he saw Gausman's youth showing through, the situation maybe getting the best of the 24-year-old who's made only 32 career starts.
"He really reached back -- he knew that was his last hitter, and he deserved a chance there," Showalter said. "He'll get out of those chances as his career goes forward, but it's a process."
Still, Baltimore would have liked to have executed better in an August series between two playoff contenders. Even though Friday's loss wasn't all on Gausman -- the Orioles' usually reliable bullpen gave up three runs in relief -- the game hinged on the last out of that sixth inning, the one Gausman couldn't get.
"After we took the lead, I went out there and didn't put up a scoreless inning," Gausman said. "Any time you do that and you struggle against the bottom half of the lineup like I did, eventually it's gonna hurt your team."
David Adler is an associate reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @_dadler. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.