BALTIMORE -- Kevin Gausman and Zach Britton, both optioned to Triple-A Norfolk following Tuesday's loss, will split Sunday's game to close their first half.
The team's decision to option the pair of pitchers on Tuesday makes them eligible to return the second game after the All-Star break if the O's have a need. In a non-injury situation, optioned players must remain in the Minors for at least 10 days.
Gausman pitched 1 2/3 innings after Britton's five-inning start, allowing two runs on two hits and a pair of walks. It was the first time in four relief outings the 22-year-old righty -- who made five starts earlier this year -- had allowed a run.
"Gaus has got a chance to be a quality Major League pitcher, and we all hope it's as a starter one day," said manager Buck Showalter, who said he was satisfied with what he saw in Gausman's second big league stint. "The only unknown that I really didn't get a feel for, and didn't want to, was back-to-back [games]. I got him up once, and when I got him up once ... all of a sudden, something happened where he didn't come in the game, I didn't get him up again. Really protective of that with him. I don't want to create something bad from something good.
"I think being in the bullpen was good for him, as he's talked to us about. He could come back to us in other ways. I hope there's not a need. He could certainly benefit from getting on a schedule down there, too."
Gausman is 1-3 with a 6.21 ERA in nine games for Baltimore this season, picking up the first win of his Major League career with 4 1/3 scoreless relief innings on June 28 against the Yankees.
Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Twitter @britt_ghiroli. Derek Wetmore is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.