Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles keep Texas Rangers under wraps

By Anthony Andro, The Sports Xchange  |  July 30, 2017 at 10:59 AM
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Baltimore right-hander Kevin Gausman is hot enough to postpone Adrian Beltre's bid to join the 3,000-hit club.

Gausman (8-7) pitched 8 2/3 shutout innings as the Orioles blanked the Texas Rangers 4-0 on Saturday night and kept Beltre one hit from becoming the 31st member of the 3,000-hit club while snapping a three-game losing streak.

Gausman's outing was the longest of his career as he allowed seven Texas singles, including one to Beltre. Beltre singled in the fourth inning for career hit No. 2,999 but grounded out in his next two at-bats and finished 1-for-4.

Gausman was one out shy of his first complete game. He allowed a leadoff walk in the ninth inning before getting Beltre to ground into a double play. But after allowing a walk to Mike Napoli and a bloop single to Rougned Odor, manager Buck Showalter pulled Gausman.

Zach Britton got a grounder from Carlos Gomez to complete the sixth Baltimore shutout of the season and post his seventh save.

Gausman fed off a crowd of 44,658 who came to see Beltre's bid for history.

"I've been part of some real cool things in baseball," he said. "From the first, I could tell this was going to be a special night. Every time their third baseman (Beltre) came up the crowd was in it, as they should have been. Buck showed a lot of confidence in me. When you walk the first batter in the ninth, usually you're out of there. I just needed to get one more out."

Gausman threw a season-high 118 pitches, with 80 going for strikes, and Showalter gave him a chance at the shutout.

"I would have liked to have seen him get that last out," Showalter said. "We had 110 (pitches planned) on him tonight. We just wanted to create a margin of error there. Zach hadn't pitched in a couple of days. It's unfortunate."

While Gausman missed out on the shutout, he continued a recent trend of success. He is 3-0 with a 0.45 ERA in his last three starts.

Gausman didn't need much help Saturday, but the Orioles got him plenty. Baltimore jumped on Texas starter Austin Bibens-Dirkx (3-1) for two runs in the second inning on solo homers by Trey Mancini and Caleb Joseph.

Two innings later, the Orioles doubled the lead to 4-0 on a fielder's choice grounder from Mancini and a single to right by Seth Smith.

That was plenty of cushion for Gausman. Texas was 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position against Gausman, who struck out eight and walked three. He retired 10 straight batters before walking Mazara to lead off the ninth.

"He (Gausman) was able to control and locate all his pitches," said Texas shortstop Elvis Andrus, who went 1-for-4. "He's a guy with a lot of talent and can throw the fastball close to 100. His split and breaking pitch were really good. Any time a guy like that is going to locate it's going to be a tough night."

Texas' best chance at scoring came when Joey Gallo led off the third with a deep fly ball to center. But Adam Jones made a leaping catch over the wall to rob Gallo of a homer.

Beltre tried to give the crowd some history. But after hit No. 2,999, he grounded out to short in the sixth before his double-play ball in the ninth.

"I was just trying to find a pitch to hit," Beltre said. "It felt really cool how the way the fans were in it. I'm trying to get it over with, yes. But I wasn't anxious. Or maybe I was, I don't know."

Bibens-Dirkx, who was making his first start since June 30, allowed four runs and six hits in five innings in suffering his first career loss.

The Orioles had six hits, with all six coming from different players and all six coming in the first four innings. Mancini collected two RBIs. First baseman Chris Davis walked three times and was hit by a pitch.

Shin-Soo Choo had two hits for Texas and also drew a walk.

NOTES: Texas 3B Adrian Beltre made a throwing error in the seventh inning, snapping his 62-game errorless streak. That was the club record for a Texas third baseman. ... Baltimore RHP Jeremy Hellickson, who was acquired in a trade from Philadelphia on Friday, will not join the team until Monday. He was involved in a car accident going to the airport. ... More than 8,000 tickets for Saturday's game were sold after Friday's game in anticipation of Beltre reaching 3,000 hits.

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