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Smart Alec: Asher dynamite in Orioles debut

Righty may be ticketed for Triple-A despite stellar outing vs. Toronto
MLB.com

TORONTO -- Buck Showalter admitted he wasn't sure there was much more starter Alec Asher could've done Saturday afternoon to show he deserves a second start when the spot comes up against the Red Sox next week. However, with the team in need of bullpen help, the right-hander could be headed back for Triple-A Norfolk.

Asher went 6 1/3 innings allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out five and walking one in the O's 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays.

Full Game Coverage

TORONTO -- Buck Showalter admitted he wasn't sure there was much more starter Alec Asher could've done Saturday afternoon to show he deserves a second start when the spot comes up against the Red Sox next week. However, with the team in need of bullpen help, the right-hander could be headed back for Triple-A Norfolk.

Asher went 6 1/3 innings allowing one earned run on three hits while striking out five and walking one in the O's 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays.

Full Game Coverage

"I don't know what else he's got to do, but we also, with three guys down in the bullpen, we've got to make sure we're covered tomorrow," Showalter said. "We don't need a fifth starter until Saturday, and barring [someone landing on the DL], we wouldn't be able to bring him back.

"We are playing Toronto tomorrow without Alec, we're going to play Cincinnati without Alec and the first game against Boston so we'll step back and look at it, he certainly did his part."

Asher, who was making his Orioles debut, surrendered a leadoff single to Kevin Pillar, but got Troy Tulowitzki to fly out four batters later, stranding a pair in the first.

The 25-year-old right-hander then retired the next seven before a Jose Bautista's leadoff single in the fourth.

"I felt good my last outing in Norfolk, and I just wanted to come up here and continue to throw the ball well and it worked out for the best," Asher said. "For me, first innings are always the hardest, especially when you want to make a good impression. You try not to think too much, go out, execute the plan and hopefully it works."

Asher struck out Justin Smoak to lead the fifth to match his career high (4) and then fanned Jarrod Saltalamacchia to end the inning, establishing a new career high for strikeouts.

"I thought he did a real nice job," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "A little breaking ball he threw behind in the count. A cutter. I think for the most part he stayed out of the middle of the plate but for debuting against us here-- pretty [darn] good."

He got into trouble in the seventh after hitting Bautista to lead off the inning, and two batters later Tulowitzki reached on a single, ending Asher's day.

"I think we had a pitch [count] at about 85," said Showalter. "I think he went four-plus the last time out. You try to look at the duress of the outing so-to-speak, but that works.

"When he's got all those pitches working for him, it's kind of like Wade [Miley] last night. That was fun to watch. You'd like to cap him, but he wouldn't let us cap him, but the innings got him more than anything."

When and where his next start comes is still up in the air, but Asher is content with the way his first big league start of the season went.

"You can't think about it, it's out of your control," he said. "The only thing you can control is what you do on the field. I just went out there and I competed, I executed my plan.

"You don't think about it. You just kind of let it happen."

Dhiren Mahiban is a contributor to MLB.com based in Toronto and covered the Orioles on Saturday.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Baltimore Orioles, Alec Asher