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Machado hits 14th HR, but Gausman struggles

Special to MLB.com

BOSTON -- After a laborious first inning -- needing 36 pitches, just 18 for strikes, facing seven batters, allowing two runs on a J.D. Martinez two-run homer -- right-hander Kevin Gausman appeared to settle down against the Red Sox on Thursday night at Fenway Park. He faced one batter over the minimum in his next three innings.

But Gausman came undone in the fifth to post his worst start since his first appearance of the season, as the Orioles dropped the opener of their four-game series with the Sox, 6-2.

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BOSTON -- After a laborious first inning -- needing 36 pitches, just 18 for strikes, facing seven batters, allowing two runs on a J.D. Martinez two-run homer -- right-hander Kevin Gausman appeared to settle down against the Red Sox on Thursday night at Fenway Park. He faced one batter over the minimum in his next three innings.

But Gausman came undone in the fifth to post his worst start since his first appearance of the season, as the Orioles dropped the opener of their four-game series with the Sox, 6-2.

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Gausman went 4 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on eight hits and two walks with six strikeouts and a wild pitch. He threw 101 pitches, 59 for strikes.

Video: BAL@BOS: Gausman freezes Bradley Jr. for a strikeout

Gausman opened the fifth by walking No. 9 hitter Jackie Bradley Jr., who entered the game hitting .171 and was making his first appearance since Sunday after being benched. With Mookie Betts batting, Bradley stole second, took third on Betts' single and scored on Andrew Benintendi's sacrifice fly. With Hanley Ramirez batting, Betts stole second. After Ramirez's infield single, Betts and Ramirez pulled off a double steal as Martinez struck out. But Xander Bogaerts' three-run homer, his sixth homer of the season, ended Gausman's night.

For manager Buck Showalter, though, it wasn't entirely Gausman's fault.

"Yeah, there were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way," Showalter said. "Changed a lot of things around. We gave them, I think, eight extra baserunners. We had four walks, we had the three stolen bases that they didn't really earn. You could look at either way.

"Kevin's got a bubblegum card, too. Those pitches, I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight."

Gausman acknowledged the fifth inning was about as frustrated as he's been on the mound.

Video: BAL@BOS: Jones soars for a leaping catch at the wall

"It's frustrating, especially when you make a perfect pitch and feel like you're maybe getting cheated a little bit," he said. "The most frustrating things was on all those checked swings, [home-plate umpire Tony Randazzo] wasn't even looking down towards the guy at first or third. So that's frustrating as a pitcher. You kind of have to ask for it that way, and sometimes when you ask for it, the umpire's not even going to give it to you because at that point, it might have taken him a little bit too long. That's frustrating, but I didn't do a good job of executing my pitches today. It really hurt me in that fifth inning."

The Red Sox recorded a season-high five stolen bases -- just the second time in the last five seasons they have swiped as many -- all with Gausman on the mound.

Video: BAL@BOS: Red Sox pick up 5 steals against Gausman

"Just early breaks and [Gausman] not having the awareness to step off," Showalter said. "Threw over, but you've got to step off."

Catcher Andrew Susac, making his season debut, was not able to attempt throws on any of the steals.

"I don't think it's frustrating," Susac said. "I feel we're trying to make pitches out there. I know Kev was trying to bear down on Martinez on the double steal. A couple of miscommunications on the pickoff, or whatever when they were stealing. But I'm not frustrated at all. It's a team game, so the stolen base at the end, it's on Gaus and I, but it is what it is."

The six runs Gausman allowed surpassed the total of his previous four starts, when he gave up a combined five runs over 29 1/3 innings, and matched his season high, against the Twins on April 1. With the loss, he fell to 3-3 with a 3.88 ERA.

Video: BAL@BOS: Machado, Schoop turn a 6-4-3 double play

The Orioles' offense could do little to solve left-hander David Price, who needed just 80 pitches through the first eight innings. In the ninth, Susac led off with a double to left. With two outs, Manny Machado clubbed his Major League-leading 14th home run of the season, a two-run shot over the Green Monster. But that was all the Orioles could manage, as Jonathan Schoop flied out to end the game.

Price (4-4, 4.38 ERA) walked none and struck out eight on 95 pitches in his 17th career complete game. 

Video: BAL@BOS: Price goes the distance in win over Orioles

"Price had good stuff tonight," Susac said. "He was really commanding the inner half of the zone, working up well in the zone, seemed like he was getting a lot of strikeouts up in the zone. His cutter had late bite. He was throwing mainly front door, and you can't forget about his changeup. That's pretty much been his whole career. But he was just sharp tonight. Tough guy to beat when he's living on the corners."

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Machado ends shutout: Machado's two-run homer with Susac on second improves his average with runners in scoring position to .485 (16-for-33) this season. It was Machado's Major League-leading 13th multi-RBI game this season, the most by an Orioles batter through the team's first 43 games of a season, and the most by an American League batter in the first 43 games since Evan Longoria and Jason Bay each had 13, with Tampa Bay and Boston, respectively, in 2009. Machado has 12 RBIs in his last 11 games at Fenway.

SOUND SMART
The two runs Gausman allowed in the first inning snapped a streak of 16 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings he had thrown against Boston, going back to last season.

HE SAID IT
"I think he's frustrated, frustrated with all of us and just how we're playing. And so, I think that shows." -- Gausman, on Showalter coming out to get him as Bogaerts was still rounding the bases

UP NEXT
Right-hander Alex Cobb will make his seventh start of the season in Friday night's 7:10 ET game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, opposed by left-hander Drew Pomeranz (1-1, 5.47 ERA). Facing one of the best teams in baseball, now would be a good time for Cobb (0-5, 7.06 ERA) to finally get on track. He took the loss on Saturday against the Rays, stretching his career-long losing streak to five games. In eight career games at Fenway, Cobb is 5-2 with a 4.33 ERA. In his Orioles debut vs. Boston on April 14, he allowed eight runs (seven earned) in 3 2/3 innings.

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com based in Boston.

Baltimore Orioles, Kevin Gausman, Manny Machado