Gausman's gem latest for O's rotation

Gausman's gem latest for O's rotation

BALTIMORE -- Friday and Saturday night's performances at Oriole Park at Camden Yards were the type Baltimore right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman envisioned when they were together at Double-A Bowie.

The fourth overall picks in 2011 and 2012, respectively, showed why they were once-hyped prospects on consecutive nights against the Indians' potent lineup. After Bundy allowed an unearned run in five innings, Gausman hurled seven shutout innings on Saturday to lead Baltimore past Cleveland, 5-2.

"He pitched as well as Dylan did last night," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Gausman. "Really nice to see two young guys kind of taking their experiences up here and kind of move them forward with some success."

It has been a trying season for Gausman at times. Entering Saturday night, he had allowed two or fewer runs in eight of his starts, but he had just one win on his resume to show for his work.

Backed by a three-run first inning, Gausman did the rest. Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis cited Gausman's off-speed pitches as the reason why he was so effective. In a career-high 116-pitch outing, Gausman allowed four hits and three walks while striking out seven.

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"They know we're very fastball efficient, especially versus Kansas City in the last series," Kipnis said. "So, they're going a lot to changeups. Both pitchers have located their changeups very well these first two days."

After allowing a leadoff double to start the game, Gausman struck out Kipnis on a splitter before getting Francisco Lindor with a 94-mph heater. It set the tone for his final six innings.

"Any time you get guys on right away, you can put yourself in a hole," Gausman said. "But I was able to make some good off-speed pitches and get out of it."

The Orioles' starting rotation struggled in the first half of the season, and it is looking to potentially add an arm via a trade, but the current group has shown promise lately. Since the All-Star break, the Orioles are allowing just three runs per game.

And Bundy and Gausman, the two youngest arms in the rotation, have been a part of that. In their four starts since the break, they have a combined 2.45 ERA.

On Saturday night, the outing helped the Orioles match the Indians for the best record in the American League. With the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaching, the rotation is trying to prove itself with the help of two young flamethrowers.

"Me and Bundy, we both want to pitch well, and I think we have the moving parts here to have a great starting staff," Gausman said. "Obviously, if we acquire somebody, it's not like we are going to be mad, but I think we are all capable of doing it. It's just if we can all kind of piece it together."

Ryan Baillargeon is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.