Carroll County Times

O's overcome slow start, down Yankees

BALTIMORE - Kevin Gausman's first career win did not come as he, or anybody else, thought it would. If Buck Showalter had his way, the highly-touted prospect would not have even been needed to pitch Friday night.
But after Baltimore Orioles starter T.J. McFarland dug the team into an early hole, it became Gausman's job to keep the team in the game.
And he completed that task to perfection.
The 22-year-old right-hander pitched 4 1-3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing Baltimore to come back, as Nate McLouth hit a game-winning seventh-inning homer and the Orioles beat the New York Yankees 4-3 before a raucous crowd of 40,041 at Camden Yards.
"It's a nice moment for him. He threw the ball deserving of a win," Showalter said. "When you're trying to manage and develop young pitchers, experience tells you that you try to create a situation where they've got nothing to lose. And I think he really came in there letting it rip."
And it was needed if the Orioles (45-36) were going to fight back. McFarland gave up three runs on seven hits in 2 2-3 innings in his first career start after serving as the long-reliever to this point in the season.
Gausman (1-3) entered with runners on first and third, got out of that jam, and then proceeded to give up just three hits while striking out four.
"My slider was the biggest difference from the other outings," said Gausman, who was winless in his first five appearances, all starts. "I was thinking last night about what the best relievers have and they have that bulldog mentality. That's something I definitely tried to kind of do today."
McLouth broke a 3-3 tie by crushing a slider from CC Sabathia onto the right-field flag court. Last October in the American League Division Series, McLouth almost hit a game-tying homer in Game 5 off Sabathia, but after a review it was called just foul, leaving a bit of controversy.
This time, there was no doubt the ball was fair. McLouth said the previous incident came immediately to mind.
"I wasn't even out of the batter's box before I thought that," McLouth said. "Off the bat, I knew it had the distance, it just stayed true. It stayed straight, and I was happy about that."
It was McLouth's fifth homer, but his first since a walk-off on May 20 against New York (42-37).
The Baltimore left fielder not only broke the tie, he was the catalyst for the game-tying rally an inning earlier. Sabathia (8-6) dominated the Orioles for five innings, giving up no hits and allowing just one baserunner.
But McLouth singled to lead off the sixth, followed by another single from Alexi Casilla. Two batters later, Manny Machado scored both on his league-leading 37th double.
Machado later scored on an Adam Jones infield single to tie the game.
"[Sabathia] had all his pitches working today and he made a couple mistakes and we got a couple runners on," Machado said. "We just took advantage of that. That's what you have to do against a pitcher like that."
The Yankees ace gave up four runs for the second straight time against Baltimore. He owned a 17-4 record against the Orioles entering Friday, but they did not have the same trouble as they used to.
Rather than going to closer Jim Johnson with a one-run lead, Showalter opted to leave Tommy Hunter on the mound for a second inning. The decision paid off, as the right-hander pitched a second straight scoreless frame and earned his second career save.
Although it was McLouth's swing that won the series opener, the general consensus among the team was that it would not have been possible without Gausman's performance.
"For [him] just to keep that at a three-run lead was big, that's kind of within striking distance," McLouth said. "You're not going to do that too often against CC, but we were able to break through with some infield hits."
Gausman hadn't pitched since a rough start for Class-AAA Norfolk last Wednesday, but it didn't seem to hinder him much, as the night ended with a shaving cream pie from Jones and a milestone victory.
"I felt good about my stuff and I felt good physically," Gausman said. "Any time where you make good pitches and you get good results, you're going to have a good mentality about that."