ARLINGTON -- Orioles starter Kevin Gausman pitched well enough to earn his first victory of the season, but a misplaced breaking ball to Shin-Soo Choo was his undoing in a 4-3 loss to the Rangers on Monday night at Globe Life Park.
Gausman (0-5) pitched into the fifth inning for the 11th time in 12 starts, but took the loss in a makeup game from a postponement in April. The right-hander gave up four runs on nine hits and a walk while striking out five.
Staked to an early three-run lead, Gausman gave a run back in the third on Ian Desmond's home run and yielded three runs in Texas' decisive fourth -- capped by Choo's two-run single on a breaking ball Gausman left up in the zone.
"If I'm able to execute that pitch, who knows, I get a ground ball and get out of that inning," Gausman said. "That's the most frustrating thing, I feel like I haven't pitched that often with a lead this year. To get that lead early in the game, you've got to be able to shut the door right there."
Timely hitting was nowhere to be found a day after the Orioles clobbered Toronto pitching. Baltimore let Texas starter Derek Holland off the hook in the third by not scoring after loading the bases with none out. The O's advanced a runner to third with one out in the ninth with the heart of the order coming up, but closer Sam Dyson struck out Matt Wieters and induced a fielder's choice groundout from Jonathan Schoop to end the game.
The O's left 12 men on base.
"That was a key part of the game," manager Buck Showalter said of the third. "You had Holland on the ropes and we let him off."
Said Gausman: "We definitely had our opportunities, but it's all on me. I've got to be able to shut the door."
Gausman had runners on in each of his five innings. Given a lead in the second, he surrendered a two-out hit to Elvis Andrus, who went 3-for-4, but left him stranded. In the Rangers' fourth, it was an out to Bobby Wilson that might have been the key at-bat. Wilson looked at 10 pitches before driving in a run with a sacrifice fly, setting the table for Choo, who drove Gausman's pitch off the right-field wall.
After Gausman gave up another hit to Andrus in the sixth, Showalter pulled him after 103 pitches. The laborious 10-pitch at-bat couldn't help but have an effect on Gausman, Showalter said.
"Of course, it does," Showalter said. "That's what people miss in analytics. Statistically it may look like the catcher didn't have a productive night for them. You can win at-bats without getting a hit. Kevin seemed to pay for the few mistakes he made. He pitched well enough to win."
Dylan Bundy worked three perfect innings in relief of Gausman, who was coming off his shortest outing of the season in which he gave up six runs on seven hits in three innings. Over his last six starts, Gausman is 0-4 with a 6.37 ERA. After Monday's loss, Gausman's overall ERA is 4.37.
"I thought he had good stuff again," Showalter said. "He makes just one or two mistakes. It's not pitch selection, it's execution. You have to remind yourself that he's in the process of a young pitcher, like a lot of guys go through. Try to keep in mind that he's going to be a good one."