Gausman struggles from outset in brief outing

Gausman struggles from outset in brief outing

TORONTO -- The third time was not the charm for Orioles starter Kevin Gausman on Friday night. Not even close.

Gausman, who had not allowed three home runs in an outing since May 31, gave up two quick homers in the first inning, and he was unable to right the ship, surrendering a third that put the Blue Jays ahead for good and paved the way for a rough three-inning start in Baltimore's 6-5 series-opening loss at Rogers Centre.

"We get two runs in the top of the first against Marco Estrada, and in this ballpark he's a very good pitcher, especially. So for us to get two and for me to give three right back is just kind of deflating," Gausman said. "Even when we got one in the top of the third, I came back out and gave up another three. It's obviously very frustrating. ... This is obviously a big series for us right now, so for me to go out there and not even be competitive was bad."

With Monday's non-waiver Trade Deadline on the horizon, it's no secret how badly Baltimore needs quality starting pitching. And with Gausman, who has been the team's best arm outside of Opening Day starter Chris Tillman, struggling on Friday, the O's dropped their fourth consecutive game and saw their lead in the American League East whittled to a half-game.

Staked to a two-run lead before he took the mound, Gausman gave up a leadoff blast to Jose Bautista and, one out later, Edwin Encarnacion struck for his own solo shot. Troy Tulowitzki completed the trifecta with a two-out blast that put Toronto on top.

"You saw it in the first inning -- they have a lot of power and have guys who are known throughout the league for hitting home runs. So if you don't have your 'A' game, they are going to let you know," Gausman said. "From pitch 1 to pitch 80 after the third inning, which is ridiculous -- I was just all over the place. I had no feel for anything. I felt bad for [catcher] Matt Wieters, I was kind of beating him up back there."

Added Wieters: "I think the big thing was just the consistency with the breaking ball. He had a little trouble with it today and his fastball location wasn't quite what it normally is. It's something that we're constantly working on. We're going to get that breaking ball where it needs to get and he knows he's going to have to throw it in pressure situations. And he'll learn from this and this will help him moving forward."

Gausman allowed another trio of runs in the third inning, on Tulowitzki's groundout and a pair of RBI singles. He allowed six runs on six hits and three walks while matching his shortest outing of the season.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.