BALTIMORE – Kevin Gausman looks as if he has come of age. Up and down, from Baltimore to Norfolk, out with shoulder tendinitis. That’s all over.
Gausman pitched seven strong innings, and the Orioles moved three games over .500 for the first time since July 6 with a 6-2 win over the Detroit Tigers before 45,968 at Oriole Park on Saturday night.
In his last start, Gausman pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings. Against the Tigers, Gausman allowed two runs on four hits with six strikeouts and no walks and picked up his first win as a starter this season.
Manager Buck Showalter likes where Gausman is.
“Just maturity level,” Showalter said. “He's got a pretty fresh arm going right now. But I've got to tell you, he didn't get much help. There were five or six, I'll be nice and say borderline pitches, he didn't get that I thought could have made it even better than it was. But he was really good. He attacked and had a good feel for all his pitches."
Gausman is relieved to know that he’s here for the rest of the season. The Orioles haven’t said it, but it’s obvious. He’s in the rotation.
“Just knowing when you're going to pitch and when you're going to throw your sides only helps you. [I'm] definitely feeling comfortable. I think I feel really comfortable pitching here, which is a lot different than when I first came up. I was always scared to give up home runs here. Everybody tells you how small the park is, and it's a hitter's park. That's one thing; I've just kind of felt comfortable here this year,” Gausman said.
Manny Machado led off with a single against Anibal Sanchez. In his first at-bat with the Orioles, Gerardo Parra, who became the 1,000th Oriole, doubled to right. Machado scored on Chris Davis’ infield out.
Matt Wieters, who started at first base for the second time in his career, singled to score Parra.
Parra was greeted with a big ovation before his first at-bat.
“I feel surprised. I feel happy. I feel a little bit nervous. I want to say thank you for the fans. I want to concentrate in that at-bat and make it a good one,” Parra said.
Showalter was impressed with his at-bats. Parra went 1-for-3 with a walk.
“Selective. Very calm. I like the calmness of it. Nice little pick-me-up,” Showalter said.
There were only three fly ball outs, and Parra caught two of them. One of them was the game’s final out.
“I feel comfortable in the field. Adam Jones in center field, he helped me move [according to] who’s hitting. When you have a guy like that, a teammate like that, you feel like easy, relaxed in the field,” Parra said.
Jimmy Paredes doubled to lead off the second. He scored on Joseph’s RBI single for a 3-0 lead.
J.J. Hardy extended his hitting streak to 15 games with a leadoff single in the fourth, and Joseph homered to left with two outs, his eighth of the year, and the Orioles (53-50) led 5-0.
Gausman retired the first 11 Detroit (50-54) batters before Ian Kinsler singled with two outs in the fourth. With one out in the fifth, James McCann singles, and Nick Castellanos hit his 11th home run to right field to cut the Orioles’ lead to 5-2.
Castellanos’ home run was the first Gausman has allowed at home in 24 innings here.
“Kevin is getting into a nice routine here as well,” Joseph said. “He was in the bullpen and made a few other starts and now he’s starting to settle in here as well. And that’s the kind of starting pitching we need to make a run here.”
Machado hit his 23rd home run of the season with two outs in the seventh off Sanchez (10-9). Sanchez allowed six runs on nine hits in 6 2/3 innings.
Not only is Machado hitting for power, but he stole his 15th base in 19 attempts.
“The stat I like is he's contributing to wins,” Showalter said.
Gausman (2-2) was relieved by Brad Brach. Brach threw two scoreless innings.
Showalter had two anxious games the previous two nights, one-run games, a win and a loss. This one was a much more enjoyable one.
“We pitched real well tonight. You look at the numbers we're given up the previous two games, there was some good pitching in that. It just wasn't from people that are capable of a lot better,” Showalter said.
NOTES: Parra also has a 15-game hitting streak. … The Orioles registered their seventh sellout of the season. … Daniel Norris (1-1, 3.86) faces Ubaldo Jimenez (8-6, 3.73) on Sunday afternoon. … Matt Wieters’ last started at first was on Aug. 21, 2011.