Gaus­man halts Rangers, de­nies Bel­tre No. 3,000

The Washington Post Sunday - - BASEBALL - BY JON MEOLI

ar­ling­ton, texas — The Bal­ti­more Orioles used right-han­der Kevin Gaus­man’s best start of the sea­son and the long­est of his ca­reer, plus an early of­fen­sive outburst for a well-earned 4-0 vic­tory over the Texas Rangers on Satur­day night be­fore 44,658 fans at Globe Life Park.

Gaus­man pitched into the ninth in­ning for the first time in his ca­reer and was one out away from a com­plete-game shutout when a two-out walk and a blooper into cen­ter field brought in closer Zach Brit­ton. Brit­ton recorded the game’s fi­nal out to give Gaus­man the ster­ling line of 82/3 score­less in­nings, strik­ing out eight against three walks while al­low­ing seven hits — all sin­gles.

For the 26-year-old righthander, who was the team’s Open­ing Day starter but car­ried a 7.50 ERA into May and was still north of 6.00 in mid-June, Satur­day marked his third straight qual­ity start and his fifth straight win with­out a loss, bring­ing him to 8-7 with a 5.37 ERA on the sea­son.

The only real trou­ble he had came early. A lead­off walk to des­ig­nated hit­ter Shin-Soo Choo and an in­field sin­gle by short­stop Elvis An­drus el­e­vated the stakes in the first in­ning, but a dif­fi­cult 3-6-1 dou­ble play and a putout by short­stop Ruben Te­jada from deep in the short­stop hole ended the in­ning.

From there, Gaus­man cruised. Af­ter Choo sin­gled with two outs in the fifth in­ning, Gaus­man didn’t al­low an­other man to reach un­til he walked right fielder No­mar Mazara to open the ninth. But third base­man Manny Machado fielded a dif­fi­cult short­hop off the bat of his coun­ter­part, Adrian Bel­tre, to deny him his 3,000th hit and turn a cru­cial dou­ble play. Gaus­man is­sued a third walk with two down be­fore a bloop fell in cen­ter field to end his day.

Over his past three starts, Gaus­man has al­lowed one run on 16 hits with eight walks and 24 strike­outs in 202/3 in­nings. His game score of 80 tied a sea­son and ca­reer high, most re­cently done on July 2 against the Tampa Bay Rays.

Cen­ter fielder Adam Jones opened the game with a dou­ble in the first in­ning but was stranded there. In the sec­ond in­ning, rookie left fielder Trey Mancini hit a tow­er­ing home run an es­ti­mated 459 feet, ac­cord­ing to Stat­cast, a drive that cleared the Orioles’ bullpen. Catcher Caleb Joseph fol­lowed it up with a home run of his own that frame to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.

Mancini grounded into a force to score a third run with the bases loaded in the third in­ning, and right fielder Seth Smith sin­gled home an­other run with two outs to make it 4-0.

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