Bases loaded, no outs in the first inning and Kevin Gausman proceeded to strikeout the next two batters and induce a fly ball to get out of that jam in the first inning and bared down to toss six scoreless innings to help lead the Baltimore Orioles to a series win thanks to a 2-0 victory Wednesday afternoon.
Gausman (3-1) walked the leadoff hitter, then a single to begin the first inning and got Evan Longoria to hit a groundball, but JJ Hardy committed his eighth error of the season and seventh of the month of June to load the bases with no outs. Gausman picked up his teammate and got out of the jam unscathed.
Despite needing 35 pitches to get through the first inning, Gausman proceeded to work his way through the sixth inning without allowing a run and saving the short-handed bullpen as well. When his day was done, Gausman tossed six innings while not allowing a run on five hits, one walk, five strikeouts and threw 111 pitches, 70 of which were for strikes.
Over his last three starts, Gausman has allowed just two runs in 19 innings pitched.
Baltimore's offense was pretty much held in check by Rays starter Alex Cobb (2-5) and took advantage of a two out error by Ben Zobrist in the fifth inning as Steve Pearce followed with a RBI double to score Nick Markakis for the first run of the game.
The O's were held off the scoreboard after that until the eighth inning when Nelson Cruz launched an absolute bomb for his 22nd home run of the season and gave the Birds a 2-0 lead.
Pearce (2-4, 2 2B, RBI, BB) and Hardy (2-3, BB) each had multi-hit games for the Birds.
The win secured a series victory over Tampa and improved them to 7-1 over the Rays this season. Baltimore will have an off day on Thursday before beginning a three game series in the Bronx against the New York Yankees.
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