Jays’ Kevin Gausman aims for ‘normal’ vs. his old Orioles

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Toronto right-hander Kevin Gausman looks for a bounce-back outing when the Toronto Blue Jays visit the Baltimore Orioles in the second of a three-game series Wednesday night.

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The Blue Jays won 6-3 in 10 innings Tuesday night, their third straight win.

After going 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA over three starts, Gausman (9-7, 3.24 ERA) allowed seven runs – five earned – in 5 1/3 innings of a loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 16. He walked three and struck out four.

“I wasn’t my normal self tonight,” Gausman said after that game. “I was pretty sporadic around the zone and that definitely didn’t help. There were too many 3-2 counts. It’s one thing that’s kind of been happening in this second half, walking too many guys and long innings.”

Gausman, who began his career with the Orioles, is 1-2 with a 5.06 ERA in four starts against his former team.

The Orioles will counter with right-hander Jack Flaherty (8-8, 4.73 ERA overall; 1-2, 7.07 with Baltimore), who makes his fourth start since being acquired from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Flaherty is also looking for a bounce-back effort after being pounded for seven runs on three hits and four walks in three innings of a loss to the San Diego Padres in his last start. He walked three in a row during the first inning while allowing five runs.

“His command just wasn’t there from the start,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Tough time landing his breaking balls. It seemed like a lot of breaking balls were down and out of the zone.”

Flaherty is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA in two career starts vs. the Blue Jays.

On Tuesday, Brandon Belt led off the 10th inning with a two-run homer and the Blue Jays added another run for the 6-3 win. Daulton Varsho also homered for Toronto.

“When you get to this time of year and you’re on the cusp of being in the playoffs, you’ve got to have urgency,” Belt said. “You can’t put pressure on yourself because that can make you do things you don’t normally do. But you’ve got to have a sense of urgency to get out there and win ballgames now.”

Toronto pulled within 8½ games of Baltimore in the AL East and remains in the thick of the AL wild-card race.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who left Sunday’s game in the fourth inning with middle finger discomfort after a hard swing, doubled and score in the 10th inning and also had two singles.

Adley Rutschman and Jordan Westburg each had two hits for Baltimore, and Ryan Mountcastle walked to increase his on-base streak to 27 games.

Baltimore was 2-for-14 with runners in scoring position and saw its lead over the Tampa Bay Rays shrink to two games.

After tying the game with a two-run fifth, the Orioles were scoreless against the Blue Jays‘ bullpen for the final five innings.

“You look at their bullpen: This is an excellent, excellent bullpen,” Hyde said. “They’re tough to score on. They’ve been tough to score on for everybody — and they were really good tonight.”

Baltimore’s Anthony Santander (lower back pain) missed his third game.

—Field Level Media

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