(Sports Network) - The Baltimore Orioles turn to one of their top pitching
prospects on Thursday, as Kevin Gausman makes his big league debut in the
opener of a four-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre.
Gausman, the fourth overall pick of the O's in last year's draft, was 2-4 with
a 3.11 ERA in eight starts this season for Double-A Bowie. However, he struck
out a career-high 10 batters in his last start on Friday.
"Obviously, it's going to be really exciting," Gausman said. "I try and not
think about it too much -- just go out there and keep doing what you're doing
and throw strikes."
Gausman becomes the Orioles' major league-leading 11th different starter this
season. He is taking the spot of righty Jair Jurrjens, who was optioned on
Tuesday after allowing four runs in his only start of the year.
"I don't think it really hit me until today, until my second flight here from
Atlanta," Gausman said. "Then I just kind of was thinking, you know, 'Wow, I'm
really here. It's crazy.'"
Baltimore enters this series on a high note after taking the final two games
of its three-game set with the New York Yankees. On Wednesday, Chris Davis
went 4-for-4 and was one of three Orioles players to homer in a 6-3 win.
Davis topped Nick Markakis' solo blast in the bottom of the first inning with
a two-run shot later in the frame, while Matt Wieters tacked on a three-run
homer later on to help Baltimore, which had lost six in a row before winning
"Any time a division rival comes in you want to win the series," Davis said.
"We were able to get back on track."
Wieters, Adam Jones and Manny Machado each collected two hits to back 6 2/3
solid innings from Jason Hammel (6-2), who held the Yankees to a pair of runs
while striking out six.
Toronto, meanwhile, needed extra innings to win its series with Tampa Bay on
Wednesday, as Jose Bautista homered twice and later singled in the winning run
in the bottom of the 10th inning to carry the Blue Jays to a 4-3 victory.
"Any time you win a series, it's big," said Bautista. "We're ready to go with
some momentum against the Orioles. We just have to keep the energy up and hope
for the best."
Toronto, which has won six of nine, will turn to righty Brandon Morrow, who is
1-3 with a 5.16 ERA. Morrow lost in New York on Saturday, as the Yankees
reached him for five runs and seven hits in five innings.
The thing about Brandon, he's got dominating stuff," Toronto manager John
Gibbons said. "When he's on, he can shut you down. We feel good any time he
steps on the mound, too."
Morrow has faced the Orioles 17 times (10 starts) and is 3-3 with a 4.05 ERA.
Baltimore took two of three from the Jays earlier in the year.
The Sports Network