Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman dominated the Detroit Tigers on June 2, 2013, allowing just one run in six innings en route to a 4-2 win.
On Wednesday, though, the Tigers got the best of Gausman in his first start of the season. The right-hander gave up five earned runs in four innings as Detroit (24-12) jumped out to a 5-0 lead and went on to beat the Orioles (20-18), 7-5, in the series finale at Camden Yards.
“I wasn’t too thrilled with it,” Gausman said. “I thought I did some good things early on. As the game progressed, my fastball started going up in the zone.”
Gausman said his splitter wasn’t as good as it has been lately, which upset him more than anything else. He felt good about his stuff overall, but he didn't get the results he wanted.
"OK. Wasn't as good as we had hoped,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said after the game. “But had a real good first inning. Some counts in his favor he didn't make work. He'll get better. Capable of better."
Gausman, 23, was called up Wednesday to face the potent Tigers lineup after Showalter decided that left-hander Wei-Yin Chen would be better suited to face the Kansas City Royals on Thursday.
Early in the game, it appeared as though Gausman was on his way to another impressive performance against Detroit. He retired seven Tigers in a row to start the game, cruising through the heart of the lineup unscathed.
Gausman was clocked at 98 mph, and his aggressive, yet calculated approach matched that of a potential long-term starter.
In the third inning, though, the Tigers played small ball with one out to take a 2-0 lead.
Bryan Holaday reached on an infield single before Danny Worth singled to right field. Ian Kinsler loaded the bases with another infield single, and then Miguel Cabrera singled to left field to drive in two runs.
The next inning, Gausman’s rocky stretch continued. Holaday singled to drive in a run, Worth reached on an RBI bunt single, and Rajai Davis’ sacrifice fly scored one more. As Gausman pointed out, the bottom half of Detroit’s lineup did more damage than the top half.
Detroit’s No. 6 through No. 9 hitters combined for five hits and five runs, fueling the two innings that gave the Tigers a six-run lead after the top of the fifth.
“I just tried to go out there and get through those innings,” Gausman said. “The fourth was a tough inning for me. So was the third.”
Gausman, who is nearly fully recovered from pneumonia, threw 70 pitches in the bullpen Tuesday after being called up from Norfolk. Though he was capped at 75 pitches in the minors, Showalter bumped that number to 85 against Detroit.
Showalter wanted five or six innings from Gausman, but he only made it through four. He reached 87 pitches (54 strikes) after retiring Kinsler, and his afternoon came to a close.
Gausman said he didn’t even think about his pitch count or know what it was up to at any point. He felt fine physically, despite only three days’ rest. The main issue was making mistakes to hitters that were able to take advantage.
Gausman’s future is now uncertain. Showalter plans to discuss his status and figure out the best course of action prior to the team’s six-game road trip.
“We are going to take in today and talk about it on the plane,” Showalter said. “He’ll go with us. We will decide between now and tomorrow what we are going to do next. Probably decide tonight, or this afternoon before we leave.”