ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Baltimore manager Buck Showalter was more concerned about the lack of offense than another loss for rookie pitcher Kevin Gausman.
Jeremy Hellickson pitched six scoreless innings and six different Tampa Bay players drove in runs to lead the surging Rays to an 8-0 victory over the Orioles on Saturday.
The Rays roughed up Gausman (0-3), who allowed seven runs and eight hits over 4 1-3 innings in his fourth major league start.
“Obviously, this hasn’t gone the way I would have hoped,” Gausman said. “I wanted to come up here and hit the ground running, win my first four starts, but it hasn’t been like that. There’s definitely a learning curve there, and I’m just trying to learn it.”
Gausman, the fourth overall pick in last year’s draft out of LSU, has made three of his four starts on the road. He allowed four runs over five innings of his big league debut at Toronto on May 23, then yielded three homers and seven runs overall while only lasting four innings during a loss at Washington in his next outing.
The 22-year-old entered Saturday coming off a six-inning stint in which he allowed one run and five hits but was not involved in the decision of his first start at Camden Yards.
“I feel like I’m throwing good pitches,” Gausman said. “Sometimes I get the outcome that I hope for, sometimes you don’t. I feel like I have the stuff to be here. I really want to help the team win games, and that’s what’s frustrating.”
Taking up where they left off in allowing just two hits in a 2-1 victory in the opener of a three-game series at Tropicana Field, Rays pitchers limited the Orioles to four singles to beat their AL East rivals for the fifth straight time.
“I thought he was pretty good all things considered when you score one run in 18 innings,” Showalter said of Gausman. “That’s more of the emphasis of where I’m at. I liked a lot things about him today. I’m not going to spend a lot of time personally dwelling on Gaus. He’s going to give us a lot of chances to win. He’ll learn from it.”
Hellickson (4-2) worked through a fifth-inning jam before watching the Rays break it open with five runs in the bottom half of the inning, three on Luke Scott’s bases-loaded triple. The Tampa Bay starter and three relievers combined to retire the last 15 batters to finish the combined four-hitter.
Hellickson won his third straight decision, allowing four hits, walking none and striking out five.
Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, Yunel Escobar, James Loney and Jose Lobaton also drove in runs for
The victory was the 10th in 13 games for Tampa Bay, which moved ahead of Baltimore into third place in the division behind the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.
The Orioles face another tough test Sunday against Tampa Bay’s Matt Moore, who is 8-1 this season.
“What do you do? Dwell on what happened behind you, good or bad?” Showalter said. “You can’t. Tomorrow is going to be a real challenge for us. We’ll show up, and I’ve got a lot of confidence in good people.”
The Rays scored once in the first and twice in the second to build an early 3-0 lead.
Hellickson, meanwhile, settled after giving up singles to Manny Machado and Adam Jones in the first inning. The former AL Rookie of the Year retired 10 in a row before Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy to begin the Baltimore fifth.
The Orioles, however, wasted the opportunity to get back in the game. Hellickson struck out Chris Dickerson after falling behind 3-1 in the count, Ryan Flaherty grounded into a force play and Nate McLouth hit a routine fly ball to left field to end the threat.
Tampa Bay broke it open in the fifth, when Gausman gave up a RBI single to Loney before departing with the bases loaded and one out.
Scott greeted Orioles reliever T.J. McFarland, celebrating his 24th birthday, with his three-run triple on an 0-2 pitch. Jose Lobaton followed with a first-pitch double to make it 8-0. Lobaton, Escobar and Zobrist all had three hits for the Rays.
NOTES: Showalter said 2B Brian Roberts (right hamstring) likely will remain with the team to continue his rehab program. Roberts, who hopes to return before the All-Star break next month, has been working out at the Orioles’ complex in Sarasota, Fla. … Orioles INF Wilson Betemit (right knee) is running and taking batting practice in an indoor cage. He could return after the All-Star break. … The Orioles reinstated RHP Pedro Strop (lower back strain) from the 15-day DL. He struck out two and allowed a hit during a scoreless eighth.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)