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After breakthrough win vs. Athletics, Orioles' Kevin Gausman set to face Oakland again

BaseballMajor League BaseballBaltimore OriolesKevin GausmanJ.J. HardyOriole Park at Camden YardsOakland Athletics

The last time right-hander Kevin Gausman faced the Oakland Athletics, he shut down the best team in baseball in one of the best outings of his career.

On June 7, Gausman held Oakland to one run and four hits in a career-high seven innings en route to a 6-3 win at Camden Yards. He struck out six batters and walked one.

“They were the best team in baseball when I faced them, and I think they still are,” said Gausman, who will start Sunday’s series finale against Oakland. “That was huge for me, huge for my confidence, just to know I can go seven innings. I can’t even describe how big that was. It kind of started me off on a pretty good streak.”

Beginning with his start against Oakland, he has allowed one run or less in five of his past six starts.

“I think the biggest thing with this team is that they’re surprisingly patient,” Gausman said. “So any time you can get through the seventh inning, that’s a big job. For me, it was big. I threw my slider early in the count. We’ll see how it changes this time, but that was one of the things that really helped them get off my fastball, being able to throw that in there for strikes when I needed to.”

Gausman is 1-0 with an 0.79 ERA in three road starts this season.

Showalter not happy with Jones plunking

Three Orioles batters were hit by pitches Friday, and Orioles manager Buck Showalter didn’t have an issue with the first two, calling them obviously incidental. But he didn’t like it when Orioles center fielder Adam Jones in the top of the eighth inning with a 95-mph fastball.

Catcher Caleb Joseph and shortstop J.J. Hardy were hit by split-finger fastballs that got away from Oakland starter Jeff Samardzija.

Joseph was hit by an 0-2 splitter to open the third inning, putting the leadoff runner on base. Hardy was hit in the back of the helmet on another splitter to open the fifth inning.

In the eighth inning, with a runner on second and one out, Jones was hit in the left shoulder by a fastball from reliever Ryan Cook.

“Concern?” Showalter said. “Of course. I think what you try to do as a manager is slow down and look at things in reality. The first one, I didn’t think [was bad]. Caleb, it’s part of it. It was 0-2. The other one was a split that got away from him and it hit J.J. The last one, I wasn’t very fond of at all.”

Showalter: Machado ‘fed off’ boos

Showalter applauded the way third baseman Manny Machado handled a hostile Oakland crowd that booed him loudly at every opportunity it got.

Machado went 2-for-4, extending his streak of reaching base safely to a career-high 17 games. He hit a go-ahead home run in the seventh inning.

“He made a mistake, just like they made a mistake,” Showalter said of Machado’s bat-throwing incident June 8 at Camden Yards. “What are you going to do? He handled it the only way you can. In fact, I think he kind of fed off it a little bit. It’s another challenge. … You realize how many people are hoping [for] and expecting failure. You approach it like he’s playing with house money. … I think I had more anxiety about it than he did.”

Showalter said Machado fed off the support of his teammate, who Showalter said kept the atmosphere light while fans heckled Machado every time he took the field.

“A lot of times, I don’t want to say you’re kind of whistling in the graveyard, but what else are you going to do?” Showalter said. “You’re going to be so serious and make it more than it really is. In the whole scheme of life, it isn’t that big a deal. … You try to keep that in mind.”

Johnson returning to Norfolk

Right-hander Steve Johnson (St. Paul’s) will make his first Triple-A start Wednesday since returning from the disabled list.

Johnson, who is recovering from right shoulder tendinitis, previously made three starts at short-season Single-A Aberdeen, allowing three runs on three hits in eight innings. In his last outing at Aberdeen, Johnson allowed one run in three innings, and though he didn’t allow a hit and had three strikeouts, he walked four batters.

The Orioles are still building up Johnson’s pitch count. He didn’t throw more than three innings in any of his starts for Aberdeen, and he will be held to a pitch count of 45 to 50 pitches.

Around the horn

Designated hitter Nelson Cruz was back in the lineup Saturday after fouling a ball off his left foot. Showalter said Cruz might lose the toenail on his second toe. “I wish everybody could take a sledgehammer to their foot and then go try to hit 40 seconds later,” Showalter said. … Homers by Machado and second baseman Jonathan Schoop on Friday gave the Orioles 43 go-ahead homers this season. … After 1 1/3 scoreless innings Friday, right-hander Tommy Hunter hasn’t allowed an earned run in his past 11 appearances. … Outfielder Henry Urrutia is hitting .176 (6-for-34) in nine games for the Orioles’ rookie-level Gulf Coast League team as he works his way back from sports hernia surgery. … The A’s recognized their 1989 World Series champion team before Saturday’s game.

eencina@baltsun.com

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