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O's Gausman keeps Rays in check in finale

MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- For a team that has struggled with getting quality starts from its pitching staff this season, the Orioles took advantage of a two-hit gem from Kevin Gausman Sunday afternoon against the Rays at Camden Yards.

In a 7-1 win over Tampa Bay -- one that moved the Orioles to 1 1/2 games behind the third-place Rays in the American League East -- Gausman went seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out nine for his first quality start since May 26.

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BALTIMORE -- For a team that has struggled with getting quality starts from its pitching staff this season, the Orioles took advantage of a two-hit gem from Kevin Gausman Sunday afternoon against the Rays at Camden Yards.

In a 7-1 win over Tampa Bay -- one that moved the Orioles to 1 1/2 games behind the third-place Rays in the American League East -- Gausman went seven scoreless innings, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking out nine for his first quality start since May 26.

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Video: TB@BAL: Gausman gets Smith swinging in the 3rd

"You know, just my fastball command [was better today]," Gausman said. "Obviously being able to put guys away with it also. Had a good feel for my split and my changeup, and even my slider too. I think my first-pitch strikes were pretty good too, so you know, getting ahead always helps."

The Rays praised Gausman for the job he did Sunday.

"That's about as well-pitched of a game as they've had against us this year, or a long time," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "You're talking about a guy -- Gausman was throwing 96-98 mph -- spotting his fastball. Showed a really good splitter and an occasional slider. He made it tough."

Added Evan Longoria: "We ran into a little bit of a bowling ball with Gausman today. He threw the ball well, put it where he wanted to. He's tough on a day when he doesn't have his 'A' stuff because he throws 98. But you get him on a day when he had the splitter and slider going early and then he was able to locate the fastball on top of that. So, yeah, it was a tough day."

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado belted a three-run homer in the third after a throwing error by Rays starter Alex Cobb brought in a run to put the O's up 4-0. Mark Trumbo added a solo shot in the fourth before Seth Smith launched a two-run double to the left-center gap in the seventh.

Video: TB@BAL: Machado launches a three-run homer

"It's just a play I've never really done before," Cobb said. "I've always taken pride in being able to field my position. And stay under control. I can't really explain what happened there. I guess I let it speed up a little bit."

The Rays picked up their lone run on a long ball by Jesus Sucre against reliever Mychal Givens in the eighth.

Cobb allowed seven runs (six earned) on six hits, including two home runs through 6 1/3 innings.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Cobb's costly error: In the third, the Orioles had their first base runners of the game on second and third with one out for Smith. Smith chopped one back to Cobb on the mound, who had plenty of time to look the runner back to third and still record the out at first. Instead, Cobb airmailed the throw into right field allowing the O's to put the first run on the board and set up Machado for a three-run homer in the next at-bat.

Video: TB@BAL: Joseph scores on Cobb's errant throw

Smith's two-run double: With two on and one out in the seventh, Smith laced a liner to the left-center field warning track that Mallex Smith tried to catch reaching over his head on the run, but the ball deflected off his glove and sent him tumbling to the ground. Th knock scored two and chased Cobb, extending the O's lead to 7-0.

Video: TB@BAL: Smith drives in two with a double to center

QUOTABLE
"If we keep winning within the division, everyone in here has a feeling that we're not going away."
-- Longoria, on the Rays' playoff chances

"Think about this: [Machado is] probably leading our club in balls hit hard that have been caught. His first at-bat, he hits a sharp ball right up the middle that the guy makes a great play on. Mental toughness comes from not going, 'Here we go again.' It comes from going back up there and hitting a ball on the screws for a three-run homer. That was the key offensive blow of the game."
-- Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on Machado's homer

WHAT'S NEXT
Rays: Chris Archer (6-5, 3.92) will get the nod for the Rays on Tuesday when they begin a two-game series against the Cubs in a 2:20 p.m. ET contest at Wrigley Field. Archer allowed five home runs in 31 innings in June after allowing six in 79 1/3 innings prior to June.

Orioles: The Orioles will head to Milwaukee on Monday for a three-game series against the Brewers. Wade Miley will take the mound for the O's and is looking to kick off July on a better note than his previous month as he ended June with a season-high 4.54 ERA. Last time out, the lefty allowed four runs (three earned) on six hits through five innings. First pitch is slated for 2:10 p.m. ET.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Mandy Bell is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore who covered the Orioles on Sunday.

Bill Chastain has covered the Rays for MLB.com since 2005.