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MINNEAPOLIS — Kevin Gausman has been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise dismal season for the Baltimore Orioles [url=http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com]Bears Authentic Jerseys[/url] , who bring the worst record in baseball to Target Field on Saturday as they continue a four-game series with the Minnesota Twins.
Gausman takes the mound with a 2.76 ERA in his last five outings and is fresh off perhaps one of his best starts of the year. He held the Los Angeles to one run and two hits and didn’t walk a batter in eight innings on July 2 for his first victory since May 11 — a span of nine starts — and is now 4-6 with a 4.05 ERA this season.
“I felt like early on in the season, I kind of put together a little bit better of a month, but I feel like I’m throwing the ball well,” Gausman said. “I feel really good in my delivery, and ever since I went hands over the head,
“I feel like this has just been night and day, able to command the ball and really all my off-speed pitches. That’s the key word — consistency. You’re always trying to be the same guy every five days.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter thinks Gausman’s success this season is overlooked in part because of the team’s record, but also because of the competition he has faced.
“I don’t chuckle or eye-roll or any of that stuff,” Showalter said. “When I hear people kind of negative, Kevin has cut his teeth in the American League East and he’s kind of a good hardened to it. This guy doesn’t dwell around too much on successes and failures.”
Success has been hard to come by for the Orioles lately and failure has been plentiful.
Baltimore’s loss Friday night in Minnesota extended its losing streak to four games. The Orioles have dropped 11 of their last 12 games and 22 of their last 27 overall while winning only two in their last seven series.
They’ll try to turn that around Saturday against Twins right-hander Kyle Gibson, who has been the poster child for lack of run support this season.
He has allowed more than three runs in a game just once since May 18 — a span of eight starts — but has taken the victory just twice. In the six other games, the Twins have averaged just 1.8 runs.
Gibson hasn’t let the tough luck get to him.
“We’ll start being on the right side of these games,” Gibson said. “We’ve just been running into some pitchers throwing the ball well and caught a couple tough breaks offensively.”
His last two starts haven’t been among his best. He allowed a season-high five runs and 11 hits against the White Sox on June 27 in Chicago and the Milwaukee Brewers followed by tagging him for four (three earned) in five innings earlier this week in Milwaukee.
Saturday will mark Gibson’s ninth career start against the Orioles. In the eight previous meetings, he’s 3-2 with a 5.06 ERA.
He faced them once already this season [url=http://www.cincinnatibengalsteamonline.com]Bengals Authentic Jerseys[/url] , throwing six no-hit innings with six strikeouts on March 31 in Baltimore.
The Houston Astros‘ offense looks to be back on track.
After totaling 21 runs in their previous seven games, the World Series champs have scored in double-figures in each of their last two.
Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman each homered and Charlie Morton won his 11th as the Astros beat the Chicago White Sox 12-6 Saturday for their fifth straight win.
”I think we’re swinging the bats well and playing good baseball,” Bregman said. ”I think offensively, we have a done a good job of passing the baton to the next guy, and if we continue to do that, we will be successful.”
Morton (11-2) allowed five runs and five hits with eight strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings. The right-hander has won four of his last five starts.
”I feel bad for Charlie because he got a little nickel and dimed at the end with a few soft hits and an ill-timed walk and then a well-placed, bases-clearing double,” Houston manager AJ Hinch said. ”I thought his stuff was really good at the end. . That saying that he pitched better than the line indicates, that’s going to be the day today. Still a winning pitcher, still a guy that gave us a chance to win.”
James Shields (3-10) allowed a season high-tying eight runs on a season-high 10 hits with nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings for the White Sox, who have lost four straight. Shields had allowed one run over his prior two starts.
”Just wasn’t my day today,” Shields said. ”I’m just not really happy about not going deep in the game. I’m really trying to save this bullpen. These guys are taxed. I really wanted the ball and be that guy to go deeper in the game.”
Gurriel, who also had an RBI single in the eighth, hit a three-run homer to left field to increase Houston’s lead to 4-0 in the third inning.
Josh Reddick had a run-scoring fielder’s choice and Evan Gattis added an RBI single to push the Astros’ advantage to 6-1 in the fifth. However [url=http://www.clevelandbrownsteamonline.com]Browns Authentic Jerseys[/url] , Matt Davidson had an RBI single with the bases loaded and Omar Narvaez followed with a three-run double to pull Chicago within one in the sixth, chasing Morton.
Bregman’s two-run homer in the bottom of the inning extended Houston’s lead back to three.
”A 2-0 count, I was trying to get something over the middle of the plate,” Bregman said. ”I was fortunate enough to put a good swing on it.”
Bregman finished a triple shy of the cycle to extend his hitting streak to 12 games.
”He’s doing everything right in the batter’s box as far as seeing the ball, his selectiveness, his approach is A-plus,” Hinch said. ”Bat-to-ball has been exceptional.”
Max Stassi hit an RBI double in the second and an RBI single in the eighth for the Astros. Marwin Gonzalez added an RBI single in the seventh as every Houston starter had a hit. Houston won 11-4 Friday night.
”It’s an excellent ball club, let’s face it they’ve got guys that swing the bat up and down the lineup,” Chicago manager Rick Renteria said of the Astros. ”They’ve got an air of confidence that they play with, which comes with the things that they’ve accomplished. It’s natural.”
Avisail Garcia hit a sacrifice fly in the fourth and a solo home run on to the train tracks in left in the eighth for Chicago. Garcia has five home runs in his last six games.
The Astros promoted top prospect, outfielder Kyle Tucker from Triple-A Fresno. Tucker, who was named to the Pacific Coast League’s All Star team, was hitting .306 with 14 home runs and 66 RBIs. He went 1 for 4 with a single and run scored in the seventh and an RBI walk in the eighth to go along with three strikeouts. The Astros optioned outfielder Jake Marisnick to Fresno in a corresponding move.
White Sox: SS Tim Anderson returned to the lineup. Anderson was out Friday after being hit on the left forearm the previous day. Anderson went 0 for 4 and reached on an error in the fifth.
White Sox: RHP Lucas Giolito (5-7) will make his 18th start of the season in the series finale. Giolito is 2-3 with a 7.50 ERA in his last eight stars and gave up nine runs in two innings in his last start against the Astros on April 21.
Astros: LHP Dallas Keuchel (5-8) is looking for his third straight win. Keuchel allowed two runs over seven innings in his last start Tuesday against the Rangers.
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