O's hope Gausman keeps starter streak going vs. Rangers (Jul 19, 2017)

BY AP • July 19, 2017

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles finally found some good starting pitching in the first two games of their four-game series with the Texas Rangers, a big reason Baltimore won both.

Now, they hope Kevin Gausman can keep the mini-streak going in the third game Wednesday night at Camden Yards.

Chris Tillman threw six strong innings and allowed one run on two hits -- despite receiving a no-decision -- on Monday in a 3-1 Baltimore victory. Dylan Bundy then gave up only one run on four hits in six innings during a 12-1 win on Tuesday night.

That was the kind of starting pitching manager Buck Showalter and the Orioles were waiting for since the team started 22-10. After that, the starters began to stumble, and so did the team.

Now Showalter said he would like to see the hitting and starting pitching come together.

"We know we have to have a lot of things clicking to get back to where we want to be," Showalter said. "I think not only the starters, but the whole team in general."

Gausman (5-7, 6.39 ERA) appeared to be righting the ship recently but stumbled again in his past two starts.

Gausman allowed eight runs in three innings against the Chicago Cubs on Friday but escaped with a no-decision when the Orioles rallied to even the game at 8-8 before losing 9-8. In his previous outing, he gave up six runs (five earned) in four-plus innings during a no-decision at Minnesota on July 7.

He just has not been able to get everything together on a consistent basis this season.

The right-hander is 1-2 with a 4.05 career ERA against the Rangers, and he has not faced them this season.

The rotation is the biggest question for Baltimore in the season's second half, and Showalter said that injured pitcher Mike Wright (bursitis), who has pitched in relief, still is considered a starter for now.

It will be interesting to see if Wright gets a shot at starting if the rotation continues to stumble.

Gausman will be opposed Wednesday by Texas' Martin Perez (5-6, 4.55).

The left-hander has pitched effectively lately, going 3-0 in his past four starts after a 2-6 start. He will make his 99th career start Wednesday.

Perez has a 2-1 record in his career against the Orioles with a 4.01 ERA. This will be his first start against Baltimore this season.

The Rangers have experienced problems at the plate, except for power, most of the season. They own a .237 batting average, next to last in the American League.

Those troubles have continued in this series, as the Rangers have scored only two runs in the first two games.

And now, with the trade deadline approaching at month's end, manager Jeff Banister said Tuesday that he doesn't want his team to listen to all of the trade rumors and speculation. Instead, just worry about playing the game.

"The bottom line is we have to go out with this group of players," Banister said. "Let's concentrate on those guys."

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