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Gausman pitches in as Orioles top A's

The SportsXchange

BALTIMORE -- Kevin Gausman had more success pitching in relief than starting last year during his rookie season.

Saturday night, the Baltimore pitcher used that bullpen experience to pick up his first win as a starter.

Adam Jones and David Lough homered, and Gausman came up from Triple-A Norfolk to pitch seven strong innings as the Orioles defeated the Oakland A's 6-3.

Gausman (1-1) pitched in place of Miguel Gonzalez, who went on the disabled list Friday with an oblique strain, and turned in his longest start in the majors. He allowed a run on four hits, while striking out six and walking one for Baltimore (31-29).

"Kevin was good, really good," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "He's got pretty good stuff. He got in a couple situations and went and got another level, which was good to see. You never know what a 23-year-old guy is going to do in that situation. ... But he responded well to a need we had."

Protecting a 4-1 lead, the 23-year-old Gausman allowed a pair of singles to open the sixth and had Oakland's 2-4 hitters coming up.

"I kind of went back to when I pitched out of the bullpen last year," said Gausman, who went 3-5 last season as a starter and a reliever, with all three wins coming in relief.

"You know, guys on second and third, one out, that's when you've got to bring your A game," he said, "and I think pitching out of the bullpen last year kind of helped me dig deep and just kind of get my best stuff right there."

Gausman got designated hitter John Jaso on a liner to third and, after a wild pitch advanced both runners, struck out third baseman Josh Donaldson and right fielder Brandon Moss -- the latter on a 99 mph fastball.

"Donaldson, that's exactly what I was trying to do," he said. "That was a pitch he hadn't seen up to that point. Threw my best split right there and then threw my best fastball to Moss."

Jones, Baltimore's center fielder, went 2-for-4 and added an RBI single and designated hitter Nick Markakis extended his hitting streak to 12 games when he singled home a run.

Center fielder Coco Crisp had three hits, including a homer, for the A's (38-24) and Kyle Blanks added a two-run, pinch-hit single in the eighth.

Oakland starter Sonny Gray (6-2) began the night with a 3-0 record and a 1.25 ERA in five 2014 road starts. He left after walking shortstop J.J. Hardy with one out in the sixth, his shortest outing of the season.

Former Oriole Jim Johnson came on and Lough, Baltimore's left fielder, welcomed him back with a two-run homer to right, making it 6-1.

Gray was charged with five runs on four hits and four walks. He struck out seven.

"I thought his stuff was good early, then he left a couple of curveballs up that ended up hurting him," A's manager Bob Melvin said. "You're so used to him putting up zeroes all the time. He just got nicked up on a couple of bad pitches."

The Orioles jumped in front 1-0 in the first when Jones skied a 3-1 fastball to right-center field for his ninth home run of the season.

Oakland tied it in the third. Crisp fell behind Gausman 0-2 but then lined a fastball over the wall in right.

Crisp extended his hitting streak to 11 games, and Oakland has homered in 15 straight.

Baltimore, held to one hit in the first four innings, broke a 1-1 tie with a three-run fifth.

Lough drew a one-out walk and, with catcher Caleb Joseph batting, ran on a 3-2 pitch. Joseph doubled to the gap in right-center and Lough came all the way around.

Joseph went to third on a groundout and scored on a single by Markakis. After third baseman Manny Machado walked, Jones grounded a single up the middle to score Markakis.

"I felt really good there early in the game, then it was like four or five hitters and the game just kind of blew up for me there," Gray said.

NOTES: To make room for RHP Kevin Gausman, the Orioles sent LHP Tim Berry back to Double-A Bowie. ... Orioles RHP Tommy Hunter (groin strain) was slated to make a rehab appearance at Class A Delmarva on Saturday night. ... Orioles RHP Miguel Gonzalez (right oblique strain) will throw a bullpen session Sunday or Monday and probably make a rehab start later in the week. ... Oakland LHP Eric O'Flaherty (Tommy John surgery) pitched an inning for Class A Stockton on Friday night, striking out the side. ... Oakland OF Coco Crisp (neck problems) was back in the lineup, but manager Bob Melvin said Crisp will continue to get extra rest, including Sunday. ... Oakland LHP Scott Kazmir (6-2, 2.40 ERA) opposes RHP Ubaldo Jimenez (2-6, 4.39) in Sunday's series finale.
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