O's rewarded as Gausman continues to excel

O's rewarded as Gausman continues to excel

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles were incredibly patient with starter Kevin Gausman earlier this season as the righty worked through prolonged struggles that came to a head with a July 14 start that ended in eight earned runs over three innings.

That patience has been rewarded, as Gausman -- the O's best starter the final two months of last season -- has reverted back to form. The righty tossed seven innings of one-run baseball on Friday, rolling to his fourth consecutive quality start in the Orioles' 5-2 loss to the Tigers.

"He was really good. The patience was because we knew Kevin was better than that," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Some of the patience we want to have because of their track record. Kevin doesn't have a long one, but we know he's capable of better than that.

"There's a lot of things that he and Roger [McDowell] have been working very hard about executing location of pitches, and that's really what's changed. I think he might be leading the league in starts now, and there's a lot of good things going on with Kevin. Tonight was another example of that. He was really good."

Coming off a career-high 8 2/3 innings against Texas, Gausman surrendered only a first-inning homer to Jim Adduci, handcuffing a Tigers lineup that chased starter Chris Tillman after two innings on Thursday night.

"I don't know if it's confidence. I think I've just executed my pitches a lot better," Gausman said of his turnaround. "To get to the point where I'm at. Two strikes, I'm executing my pitches a lot better than I was early on."

Gausman, who exited to a standing ovation from the crowd at Camden Yards, has allowed just two earned runs over his last 27 2/3 innings, with a quality-start streak at four and an ERA (5.15) lowered by more than a run since that July 14 debacle.

He fanned eight, marking the fourth consecutive game he's had at least eight strikeouts, and even got better as the game went on, going toe-to-toe with Tigers veteran Justin Verlander.

"I think any starter can tell you late in the game, when you know that is your last or second-to-last inning, you kind of see a finish line," he said. "Honestly, I knew with Verlander pitching runs were going to be at a premium. So I gave up that run in the first and just tried to not give up another one. And he did a good job of doing what he needed to do too, so it was a good-pitched ballgame."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.