O's hope Gausman builds off quality start

Right-hander allows two runs in six innings against Blue Jays

O's hope Gausman builds off quality start

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles had high expectations for Kevin Gausman when he was named the Opening Day starter this season, but he has gotten off to a rough start. However after a solid outing Saturday in the Orioles' 7-5 victory over the Blue Jays, the right-hander had a performance that could turn momentum in his favor.

Gausman pitched six innings, allowing two runs on 10 hits and a walk. He exited the game with a 4-2 lead. The right-hander also recorded five strikeouts, which is his second-highest total of the season.

"I liked the way he finished the sixth inning," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Kevin has been frustrated. We all know he's capable of better and that was. … You've got to figure out a way to finish that inning against some tough hitters. I thought fastball command was a lot better."

Despite allowing a season-high 10 hits, Gausman and his defense continuously found ways out of some tight jams. With runners on the corners in the third inning, the righty delivered an 88-mph splitter to strike out Kendrys Morales to preserve a 2-1 lead. Then in the fourth, Manny Machado robbed what could have been an extra-base hit from Russell Martin when he dove toward the line and fired a side-arm bullet to Jonathan Schoop who was able to turn the inning-ending double play.

"You kind of get used to it, honestly," Gausman said. "It seems like [Machado] makes those plays every night. When he doesn't, you are kind of confused. He's obviously one of the best third basemen in baseball, if not the best."

Machado starts beautiful DP

After a shaky performance on the road against the Royals last weekend, Gausman, like Showalter, thought his fastball command was much better against the Blue Jays. The right-hander was happy with his command of all his pitches, throwing 71 of his 110 pitches for strikes.

With a solid outing under Gausman's belt, the hope is the 26-year-old can build off Saturday's performance moving forward.

"Had a good feel for my split changeup, threw some really good sliders, too. I was happy with that," Gausman said. "When I can be able to have those three pitches and also be able to throw my curveball for strikes, I can be tough."

Mandy Bell is an associate reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.