Gaus­man ‘locked in’ for big vic­tory

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Ed­uardo A. Encina eencina@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­dieInTheYard eencina@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­dieInTheYard BOX SCORE

NEW YORK — Ori­oles righthander Kevin Gaus­man was ready for his shin­ing mo­ment Sun­day, and there wasn’t a bet­ter place for it than Yan­kee Sta­dium.

For at least two weeks, Ori­oles man­ager Buck Showal­ter had scripted his start­ing ro­ta­tion to have Gaus­man pitch Sun­day’s reg­u­lar-sea­son fi­nale against the New York Yan­kees. If the game had any sort of post­sea­son ram­i­fi­ca­tions, he wanted Gaus­man, who has had re­mark­able suc­cess against the Yan­kees over his ca­reer, to have the ball in his right hand.

Gaus­man did his part to pitch the Ori­oles into the Amer­i­can League wild-card game, hold­ing the Yan­kees to two runs on eight hits over 71⁄ in­nings in the Ori­oles’ 5-2 win. Gaus­man im­proved to 9-12 over­all, with a 3.61 ERA.

“I was locked in know­ing what this game meant,” Gaus­man said.

Gaus­man’s only mis­take was an 0-1, 95-mph fast­ball to Yan­kees catcher Brian McCann in the fourth in­ning that landed in the right-field stands, McCann’s 20th homer. Gaus­man was charged with an­other run af­ter Didi Gre­go­rius sin­gled off closer Zach Brit­ton in the eighth.

Gaus­man praised the de­fense be­hind him, and the Ori­oles got a few fa­vor­able hops, too, like when Ori­oles starter Kevin Gaus­man held the Yan­kees to two runs on eight hits over 71⁄ in­nings. a grounder up the mid­dle hit off the sec­ond base bag with two outs in the sixth to short­stop J.J. Hardy, who ended the frame there.

“I can’t say enough about our de­fense to­day,” Gaus­man said. “It was ridicu­lous.”

Gaus­man fin­ished the sea­son 3-1 with a 1.10 ERA in six starts against the Yan­kees.

Gaus­man’s spec­tac­u­lar fin­ish to the sea­son was one of the rea­sons the Ori­oles were in po­si­tion to make the post­sea­son. Over his past eight starts, in which the Ori­oles went 5-3, Gaus­man has a 2.39 ERA. He’s al­lowed two runs or fewer in 10 of his past 14 starts this sea­son.

“The guys who want the ball, as a man­ager, you want to give it to them,” Showal­ter said of Gaus­man. “He’s had that body lan­guage of [be­ing] ‘that guy.’ I say all the time to the mi­nor league guys and scouts, does he have ‘it’? Does he have ‘it’?” Brit­ton records mul­ti­ple-in­ning re­lief: De­spite not earn­ing a save — he en­tered the game with the Ori­oles up 5-1 — Brit­ton recorded the fi­nal five outs of the game. He al­lowed Gre­go­rius to score in the eighth but made quick work of the Yan­kees in the ninth, sand­wich­ing strike­outs of Ron­ald Tor­reyes and Brett Gard­ner around a ground­out by Billy But­ler.

“It was pretty cool,” Brit­ton said. “I’m dis­ap­pointed I couldn’t save that run there for Gausy.”

Brit­ton ended the reg­u­lar sea­son 47-for-47 in save op­por­tu­ni­ties. Teix­eira hon­ored: Yan­kees first base­man Mark Teix­eira (Mount Saint Joseph), a Sev­erna Park na­tive play­ing his last ma­jor league game Sun­day re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion from the an­nounced crowd of 33,277 when he left the game in the seventh.

Teix­eira is one of nine play­ers to record 400 homers and win five Gold Gloves. He is also one of five switch-hit­ters to reach the 400homer mark, and his 10 sea­sons of 25 or more homers are tied for sec­ond among switch hit­ters, trail­ing only for­mer Ori­ole Ed­die Mur­ray’s 12 sea­sons.

“When I woke up, I was ready to go,” Gaus­man said. “I wanted the game to start at 12 o’clock. I was pac­ing back and forth in here a long time, and I wanted the ball to­day. I think it’s even more fun to do it here. They beat us up a lot over the years way ... be­fore my time, so it’s good to cel­e­brate here.”

The ag­gres­sive­ness the Ori­oles showed at the plate, which has at times led to frus­trat­ing of­fen­sive slumps, paid off. Wi­eters’ first homer came on a 3-0 pitch. He turned on a 95-mph fast­ball from Yan­kees right-han­der starter Luis Cessa (4-4), send­ing it into the right-field sec­ond deck with two outs in the fourth in­ning to give the Ori­oles a 3-0 lead.

In his next at-bat, Wi­eters, now bat­ting from the right side of the plate against left-han­der Tommy Layne, drove a1-2 sinker in­side the left-field foul pole, giv­ing him 17 homers this sea­son.

“Cessa was tough to­day with a good break­ing ball and a good changeup, so 3-0, was look­ing for a fast­ball, was able to get it and just get the bar­rel on it,” Wi­eters said. “The one later was a lit­tle bit up, I think, and for­tu­nately, it was there.”

Now a whirl­wind of a sea­son will have an­other chap­ter.

“It went by quick for me be­cause this team was in­volved in the com­pe­ti­tion right from day one and never re­ally got away from it,” Showal­ter said.

“You go through pe­ri­ods where you’ve got a chance to win the divi­sion, you got a chance to be a wild card, then you got a chance even not to be in it. You don’t over­come that with­out hav­ing a real strong men­tal­ity. So many times we started to say some­thing to th­ese guys, and I just backed off. They got it. Some­times the best man­ag­ing you do is the man­ag­ing you don’t do.”

KATHY KMONICEK/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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