Kevin Gausman runs up pitch count in sloppy Orioles' win

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Kevin Gausman wasn't at his sharpest Monday, throwing 65 pitches in three innings against the Phillies.

Kevin Gausman didn't think he was very crisp in Monday's 6-4 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. He wasn't the only player in an Orioles uniform whom that could be said about.

The Orioles got off to a sloppy start on an overcast afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium, but used home runs by catcher Caleb Joseph and outfielder Joey Rickard to overcome their own miscues and ease past the visiting Phillies.

Gausman, who remains the frontrunner to be the Opening Day starter, threw 65 pitches in three innings. While he experimented a bit, he knows he threw too many pitches to record nine outs.

"It seemed like I went to a full count with just about everyone today," said Gausman, who allowed two runs (one earned) on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts. "Any time you throw that many pitches in three innings, you're not going to be happy, but you try and just minimize damage. Leading off the game with a double kind of puts you in what it's going to be like in the regular season in certain situations."

Much of the damage off Gausman was owed to the Orioles' own miscues. Lead-off hitter Chris Coghlan stood on third base after a double and a fly ball to center field, and shortstop J.J. Hardy had him out at home on a force play but Joseph dropped a ball.

In the third inning, Coghlan scored again after the throw home on a single by right fielder Michael Saunders. Left fielder Aneury Tavarez's throw pulled Joseph away from home, and he slipped in the mud while trying to make his way back toward the plate.

The Orioles, however, erased it quickly. Joseph's home run in the third inning was his second of the spring. Rickard's three-run homer in the fourth inning was his second of the spring as well, and set the Orioles on an easy path to a win.

Relievers Logan Verrett and Jesus Liranzo each allowed a solo home run in relief, but Brad Brach and Oliver Drake had clean innings.

Joseph leaves with arm injury: Joseph's home run came in his first at-bat, but his third at-bat spoiled his day.

The hot-hitting catcher entered the day batting .389 and reached base twice Monday, but was hit by a pitch on the left arm. After a brief on-field examination by head athletic trainer Richie Bancells, Joseph left the game in obvious discomfort.

Hardy debut: Shortstop J.J. Hardy, who has been dealing with back spasms that kept him out of game action to this point, played Monday. He had three at-bats, taking a strikeout looking in his first, walking in his second, and then softly grounding out to third base before exiting after the fifth inning.

Hardy had one chance in the field, which came in the first inning. He delivered a strike to Joseph to try and get the force at home, but Joseph couldn't hang on.

Hardy now anticipates having a regular spring in terms of his schedule, with manager Buck Showalter indicating he could be back in the lineup Tuesday.

Different tune for Kim: With every passing day, outfielder Hyun Soo Kim puts any of the bad memories he could have about spring training behind him. Kim singled to drive in the Orioles' sixth run, bringing his average to .270 with five RBIs in the Grapefruit League so far. Last year Kim struggled mightily in spring.

Schafer robbed: It's been a tough spring at the plate for outfielder Logan Schafer, who had one hit in 21 at-bats entering the game, and Monday made it worse. Schafer had a home run robbed from over the right field fence by Nick Williams for the final out of the eighth inning, and stood at the base in disbelief for long enough to congratulate Williams on the catch.

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