In his third major-league start, Kevin Gausman brought his 11.00 ERA in to face the Detroit Tigers and their MLB-leading 5.24 runs/game. It looked like a poor matchup, but Gausman delivered six innings of one-run ball, striking out four and walking none to keep the O's in the game. He didn't get the win, but he proved he can hang with the big boys.
Gausman's favorite letters today must've been GIDP, because he got Miguel Cabrera to hit into two of them. The first one came in the first inning with Torii Hunter on base. The second one came in the fourth inning, again with Hunter on base. The MASN cameras caught Gausman emoting "F**k yeah", which made me smile. I think that's an appropriate response to getting the game's most dangerous hitter to hit into his second twin killing.
The importance of this double play was clarified on the very next batter, when Prince Fielder launched a solo shot. If you're gonna give up home runs, make sure no one else is on base. Still, it put the Tigers up 1-0, and the O's offense wasn't doing anything worth against Rick Porcello, who has drastically improved his own game recently.
When Gausman gave way to Brian Matusz to start the top of the 7th, Fielder factored in again. He double and Victor Martinez singled to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Jhonny Peralta then lined another single to score Fielder, making it 2-0 Tigers, and leaving runners on first and second with nobody out. Fortunately, the Orioles got a gift in the form of yet another double play. Alex Avila stepped to the plate, fouled a ball off, then attempted to sacrifice the runners over. Instead, the ball dribbled in front of the plate. Chris Snyder pounced on it and fired to Manny Machado at third for the force out. Machado then winged it to Chris Davis at first to barely catch Avila. Score that double play 2-5-3. With Martinez at second, Ramon Santiago flew out to end the inning safely.
Relieved to have given up just one run, the O's answered back in the bottom of the 7th inning, when Chris Davis launched his 20th home run of the season on the first pitch he saw to put the O's on the board. Porcello then gave up consecutive singles to Chris Dickerson and J.J. Hardy, the latter of which moved Dickerson to third. Phil Coke replaced Porcello and promptly gave up an RBI single to Danny Valencia, who'd pinch-hit for Ryan Flaherty. Tie game!
Alexi Casilla came in to pinch run for Valencia, moved to second on Chris Snyder's fielder's choice that nabbed Hardy at 3rd, and scored the go-ahead run when Nate McLouth, who doesn't hit lefties well, lined a full-count, broken-bat single up the middle. Unfortunately, Manny Machado and Nick Markakis each flew out to end the threat.
Darren O'Day, replacing Matusz, received a GIDP blessing of his own in the top of the 8th. With one out and Andy Dirks on second, he got Torii Hunter to hit into a (more conventional) 6-4-3 double play. Inning over. In the bottom half, the O's scored an important insurance run against Coke. Although Adam Jones started out with his fourth K of the day, Chris Davis delivered again, lining a double down the third-base line. Dickerson struck out swinging for the second out, and then Jim Leyland elected to walk Hardy to get to Casilla. Big mistake; Casilla doubled to score Davis, putting the O's up 4-2. Jose Ortega came in out of the bullpen and walked Chris Snyder to load the bases. Unfortunately, Nate McLouth couldn't duplicate his RBI magic; he grounded out to the pitcher.
But it wouldn't matter. In the top of the 9th, Jim Johnson came on to get the save. He gave up a single to Cabrera, but that's hardly something to grill him over. Fielder, Martinez, and Peralta went down in order to preserve his save, the win, and the series for the O's.