For years now, Orioles fans have been waiting for the dominant form of Kevin Gausman to manifest itself for a sustained period of time. I don’t know if it’s here for good or not, but he brought some of that brilliance to the mound on Saturday afternoon as the Orioles blanked the Red Sox for a 7-0 victory, the third win in a row for the O’s.
It’s a win that’s going to matter for the O’s in the wild card standings. The O’s bring themselves up to a 64-65 record with this win, which still doesn’t sound all that exciting for late August. In the American League this year, though, it puts the Orioles two games back of the second wild card spot. They gained games on the Twins, Mariners, and Rangers already, with the Royals and Angels still to play on Saturday.
For Gausman, an outing where he kept the Red Sox off the board for 7.2 innings brings his ERA below 5 at the end of the game for the first time since all the way back on April 13. In eight starts since getting lit up by the Cubs right out of the All-Star break, Gausman has pitched six quality starts, including three where he didn’t allow the other team to score at all while he was in the game.
That’s the good stuff right there. The Red Sox had just four hits and four walks over the course of the game, and ended up with just four at-bats with a runner in scoring position. There were only two innings in the game where they got multiple baserunners and they didn’t have more than one hit in any inning.
All in all, it added up to a final line for Gausman of four hits and three walks allowed in 7.2 innings. He picked up five strikeouts and threw 117 pitches.
It’s good when the starting pitcher can go deep in a game where the Orioles stake him to a big lead early on. The Orioles gave Gausman a 5-0 lead after a flurry of second inning offense, including four runs scored after there were already two outs.
Adam Jones got that second inning party started by leading off with a double, making up somewhat for a first inning error that led to Mookie Betts reaching second base on a single. Jones got caught on a ground ball and thrown out in an ensuing rundown. Oops. Still, Chris Davis drew a walk so the Orioles had two runners on with one out against former Orioles farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez.
The O’s got on the board with a Mark Trumbo single into left field, the first of three hits he picked up on the day. After a strikeout of Caleb Joseph, it was up to #9 hitter Craig Gentry to keep things going. Gentry hit a Bermuda Triangle blooper into center field to score another Orioles run.
This turned the lineup over, bringing up Tim “Swaggy T” Beckham in a great chance to blow the game open for a bit. Beckham worked a 3-0 count, then fought off a bunch of pitches to wear out Rodriguez. Finally, on the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Rodriguez left a pitch hanging that Beckham could launch up to one of the ad boards above the Green Monster in Fenway. With that one swing, the O’s had a 5-0 lead.
For Beckham, that was his 18th home run of the season, and his sixth as an Oriole in 24 games.
Although there was no way to know it at the time, this was basically the end of the game. You never know what might happen at Fenway. Big leads can disappear in an instant. The Orioles have been on the wrong end of this far too many times. The good version of Gausman, though, is not the kind of guy to let that happen.
A pair of third inning walks ended up giving the Sox a chance to do something in the third inning, but Gausman got the whiff of Andrew Benintendi to escape the jam before it ever really turned into a jam.
The fifth inning was another chance for the Sox. Mitch Moreland, last night’s emergency pitcher, led off with a single. After a bobbled ball cost the O’s a chance at a double play, Gausman walked #9 batter Christian Vazquez to bring up Betts with two on and one out. Gausman got Eduardo Nunez to ground into a double play and once again, that was that.
Later on, the O’s pulled even farther away. Jonathan Schoop took Sox reliever Brandon Workman deep, his 28th of the year. He sets a new career high with every home run he hits. In the ninth, Gentry delivered an RBI double for the last of the O’s runs.
Richard Bleier finished the eighth inning for Gausman, retiring Benintendi, a lefty, the lone batter he faced. Darren O’Day pitched a scoreless ninth to seal the series win for the O’s.
That’s three wins in a row for the O’s. It can be done! The O’s will have a chance to make it a sweep in a 1:35 game on Sunday afternoon. Wade Miley is scheduled to start for the O’s, with Doug Fister getting the start for the Red Sox. In the unlikely event they pull off the sweep in Boston, the O’s will get themselves back up to .500 before heading back to Baltimore for a ten-game homestand.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for August 26, 2017?
This poll is closed
Tim Beckham (Earl Weaver Special to blow game open)
Mark Trumbo (three hits, two runs scored)
Craig Gentry (2-4, 2 RBI)
Kevin Gausman (7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 5 SO)