NEW YORK -- The Orioles knew rookie right-hander Kevin Gausman could be a factor down the stretch this season, and in Sunday’s 7-3 win over the Yankees Gausman injected a sense of calm to a game that was slipping away.
With the Orioles down 3-0 after four innings, Gausman entered for starter Wei-Yin Chen and tossed two scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out three. The Orioles rewarded Gausman with a seven-run seventh inning, which gave the 22-year-old his second major league win.
It was a test for Gausman (2-3), because it was the first time as a professional – Gausman said it was the first time since Little League – that he pitched on back-to-back days. He threw a scoreless inning in relief Saturday, striking out two.
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There’s no doubt that Gausman’s future is as a starter, and the Orioles expect him to be a front-line rotation pitcher eventually. But right now his power arm can be just as valuable out of the bullpen as the Orioles press on in the race to the playoffs.
“The biggest thing is just getting back to it and getting used to it,” Gausman said. “Getting used to my surroundings. I’ve never really pitched back-to-back days in my entire life other than like Little Leagues. It was something that was kind of different for me. I feel good about it, but now, I can kind of expect it and kind of know that feeling and get used to it.
“It’s good knowing that I pitched two days in a row probably more than anything,” Gausman added. “Other than that, my body feels good, my arm feels fine. My delivery was fine. I know that I can do that, so pretty good.”
Gausman has allowed just two earned runs in 11 2/3 relief innings with the Orioles. When the club first called him up as a starter, he was 0-3 with a 7.66 ERA in five starts.
“It's a process,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He's been through a lot of things that he's learning from. He's got good aptitude. He sees, he watches, he looks at it. When you have the type of stuff that Kevin does, it makes you confident. ... There's a process, and I like where he is in the process. It's just a matter of how much you want to give him."