Written by Chris Slade
Tonight's pitching matchup featured a pair of uber talented righties in Kevin Gausman and Sonny Gray. Gray is the established star of the two but Gausman was the one who pitched with polish and poise tonight. The Orioles scored first when Adam Jones hit a laser shot to right center in the 1st. The A's tied it up in the 3rd when Coco Crisp hit a solo homer onto the flag court. The Orioles had a big three-run 5th inning highlighted by an RBI double from Caleb Joseph and RBI singles from Nick Markakis and Adam Jones. David Lough hit a big two-run home run in the 6th. The A's cut the lead to three in the 8th on a two-run single from Kyle Blanks but the Orioles held on for a 6-3 win to even the series.
Kevin Gausman turned in arguably the best start of his young career and did it against one of the better lineups in the AL. What was most impressive was that Gausman's fastball command was iffy at times but he was still able to keep the pitch out of the middle and got plenty of swing and misses on his plus-plus changeup. He allowed just four hits over seven strong innings of work while striking out six. The key to his successful outing may have been his utter domination of A's cleanup hitter and likely all-star Josh Donaldson, whom Gausman struck out three times. The lone blemish was the Coco Crisp home run in the 3rd. After that, Gausman cruised and gave the Orioles a quality start, picking up his first win of the year.
Final Line: 7 IP, 4 H, ER, BB, 6 K, Win
Brian Matusz took over in the 8th and din't fare well, allowing a walk to Eric Sogard and a double to Coco Crisp before being removed for Darren O'Day.
Pinch hitter Kyle Blanks drive in two on a single with both runs charged to Brian Matusz. O'Day was solid from there on and finished off the game in the 9th with a strikeout of Alberto Callaspo on a foul tip.
Aside from the Adam Jones home run in the 1st, Sonny Gray was mostly good through the first four innings. However, he didn't have his sharpest control today and the Orioles made him pay for it with a long three-run inning.
David Lough walked with one out in the 5th and Caleb Joseph worked the count 3-2 before driving a double to right center that scored Lough. After Ryan Flaherty grounded out, Nick Markakis singled to left to score Joseph. Manny Machado worked a two-out walk to keep the inning going and Adam Jones stayed hot, driving another run in on his single. The inning finally ended with a strikeout of Chris Davis.
With one on and former Oriole Jim Johnson in, David Lough came up with a big swing of the bat, hitting his 2nd home run to put the Orioles up 6-1 in the 6th inning.
The Orioles turned two key double plays in this game.
Ryan Flaherty was charged with a fielding error in the 4th on a groundball that he bobbled, allowing Brandon Moss to reach first.
Key Moments In The Game
Caleb Joseph's big swing which broke the tie in the 5th inning as well as the patient at bat from Manny Machado which kept the inning alive for a Jones RBI single.
The A's were threatening to score with runners on second and third and one out in the 6th. Kevin Gausman proceeded to strike out both Josh Donaldson and Brandon Moss swinging to end the inning.
I noticed random air strikes of sunflower seeds on Bud Norris during his interview. He kept his composure though.
In a matter of two years, Jim Johnson has fallen from all-star closer all the way to mop up long reliever serving up two-run homers to David Lough. He's still making 10 mil though, so I don't feel too bad for him.
Orioles go for the rubber match win tomorrow at 1:35 ET. Former Indian teammates Ubaldo Jimenez and Scott Kazmir are your scheduled starters.
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