The Baltimore Orioles finally saw the Kevin Gausman they thought they were going to get last night at Camden Yards, as they defeated Oakland 6-3 before a sellout crowd. Gausman’s line: 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K. Gausman was working his fastball over the plate and into the zone all night, and he mixed his pitches well keeping Oakland hitters off. However it’s tough to say what was more impressive; Gausman, or the fact that Oriole bats were able to get to Sonny Gray, who’s ERA ballooned up to 2.83 while giving up five earned runs.
The Birds jumped on Gray early on with Adam Jones‘ solo home run in the first inning. Coco Crisp would tie the game in the third with a solo shot of his own, and it appeared that we were in for another close game. For a few innings it looked like we might end up heading to another extra-inning game, and you could all but hear cries for help coming from the Orioles’ bullpen. Needless to say, this was a game in which the O’s needed Kevin Gausman to pitch deep into the later innings. And he did, becoming the first Oriole starter to pitch seven or more innings since Bud Norris on May 17th in Kansas City.
David Lough drew a one-out walk in the last of the fifth, and he then scored on Caleb Joseph‘s RBI-double to right field. Nick Markakis‘ RBI-single would score Joseph, and following a Manny Machado walk Adam Jones would tack on another RBI-single. Suddenly the O’s had opened the game up with a 4-1 lead.
Gausman appeared to run into some mini-trouble in the sixth, as he threw a wild pitch and allowed two runners to reach scoring position with one out. However he struck out the final two hitters of the inning back-to-back, getting the Orioles back into the dugout.
J.J. Hardy drew a walk in the last of the sixth, and Oakland summoned former Oriole Jim Johnson from the bullpen to pitch to David Lough. Johnson of course was traded in the off season for Jermile Weeks (who’s currently playing second base for Norfolk), and he’s struggled thus far in Oakland. It’s to the point now to where not only has he lost his spot as the team’s closer, but they’re only bringing him into games in which they’re down so as to eat up innings. Nevertheless in his first action against his old team in his old stomping grounds, Johnson
certainly made it memorable – David Lough hit a 1-0 pitch out of the ballpark for a two-run homer and the Orioles led 6-1.
Oakland would tack on two runs in the eighth inning with a two-RBI single, however every dog has it’s day – this was the Orioles’. Regarding Jim Johnson however, I know that Oakland fans aren’t really digging him. (In fact, my understanding is that the team is actively trying to unload Johnson.) However while Orioles fans should be happy that the Birds traded Johnson before he became a total liability, I would hope that they would remember what a great year he had for them in 2012. Johnson was a key member of the first Orioles playoff team since 1997, and that should still mean something for Orioles fans. For what it’s worth, the Orioles had a memorial service for their late PR Director Monica Barlow yesterday morning. The event was attended by the team, Buck Showalter, media members, et al – as well as Jim Johnson. Obviously he happened to be in town with his new team as a visiting player, but he took the time to come to the event. That should tell people something about him.
The O’s will attempt to take the series this afternoon with Ubaldo Jimenez on the mound. He’ll face Scott Kazmir, and his 2.40 ERA. Oriole bats got to Gray last night, and they’ll have another daunting task in doing the same with Kazmir this afternoon. Gametime is set for just after 1:30 PM this afternoon.