OAKLAND -- Kevin Gausman had never thrown nine shutout innings in his career -- until Saturday. But he didn't get a complete game -- or even a win -- to show for the game of his life.The Baltimore offense has struggled to give Gausman run support all season, and Saturday
OAKLAND -- Kevin Gausman had never thrown nine shutout innings in his career -- until Saturday. But he didn't get a complete game -- or even a win -- to show for the game of his life.
The Baltimore offense has struggled to give Gausman run support all season, and Saturday took that to an extreme, as the Orioles' hitters couldn't muster even one run against Trevor Cahill and the other A's hurlers to reward Gausman for his efforts.
And despite Baltimore's bullpen continuing to hold the A's scoreless through 11 innings and change, the team ultimately couldn't get a win to show for its effort, either, as Khris Davis' walk-off two-run homer in the 12th off Pedro Araujo dealt the Orioles a 2-0 loss, their fifth straight and their 11th consecutive road defeat.
"It's tough," Gausman said. "I think any pitcher will say that if you're a starter and you go nine innings, you kind of expect to win the game."
Reliever Mychal Givens also had his best stuff, striking out five over two hitless innings. Gausman and Givens held the A's hitless from the third to the 11th, and without a baserunner from the sixth to the 11th.
The nine innings were a career high for Gausman, who allowed only a pair of singles and two walks in nine innings and didn't permit any Oakland baserunners to advance beyond first base. The two hits allowed also tied his career best among starts of longer than one inning.
"That was incredible," said Mark Trumbo, who had two hits in the loss for his third multi-hit contest in five games since his activation from the disabled list. "He picked up speed as the game went. He had everything going. It didn't seem like they timed him up very well. He really executed nicely tonight. It's unfortunate that we didn't get the win for him."
The last Oriole to pitch nine shutout innings and not earn the win was then-rookie starter Zach Britton on May 12, 2011, who allowed three hits and struck out five against the Mariners at Camden Yards. The O's won that game, 2-1, in 12 innings.
Despite throwing 113 pitches, Gausman seemed to only grow stronger as he twirled zeros deep into the Oakland night. He retired 18 of the last 19 hitters he faced, and recorded four of his six strikeouts in that stretch. In fact, his three fastest pitches, clocked at 96.1 mph, 97.7 mph and 98.2 mph, came to his final batter -- his 109th, 110th and 111th pitches of the game.
"Kind of like a shark, they smell blood in the water, they're coming," Gausman said. "I knew that was my last hitter, and I wasn't going to get beat on a 91 [mph pitch] down and away."
Gausman didn't lobby his coaches to let him go out for the 10th inning because of his high pitch count -- though he did express after the game that he's of the "old-school" mentality where he thinks starters should still be allowed to throw 130 pitches and pitch the whole game.
The outing marked the fourth quality start in the past five appearances for Gausman, who has quietly been a beacon of consistency in Baltimore's inconsistent rotation after working to tweak the mechanics of his delivery. He hasn't allowed more than three earned runs in his each of his past six starts after allowing six in his first start of 2018.
Gausman lived on the edges of the strike zone all night and commanded all of his pitches with confidence, particularly his fastball, while mixing in his splitter and slider to keep Oakland's lineup off-balance. Though he threw nearly as many balls as he did strikes throughout his outing, he rarely gave A's hitters good pitches to hit, and accordingly, he drew plenty of weak contact that allowed him to keep his pitch count down.
"I knew pretty early on that I had a pretty good feel for all my pitches," Gausman said. "The biggest thing was I was able to move around my fastball and really throw it wherever I wanted to."
But opposite Gausman, Cahill also brought his best, as he recorded a career-high 12 strikeouts in six scoreless innings. The Orioles recorded a season-high 20 strikeouts against Cahill and a parade of Oakland relievers.
Even after Gausman's departure, Baltimore couldn't buy a timely hit -- the O's had a runner reach base in each of the final six innings, and couldn't bring any home.
"It seems like we get guys on base, and they kind of stay there," Gausman said. "We've just got to be better at winning games. That's what it comes down to. We've got to get better at shutting the door and taking advantage of opportunities."
JONES HIT BY PITCH IN 12TH INNING
Center fielder Adam Jones will have a precautionary X-ray on his right wrist after he was hit by a 92 mph Santiago Casilla two-seam fastball with one out in the 10th inning. Jones doubled over in pain and was attended to by the training staff, but he remained in the game and returned to play defense as well.
Though the last Oriole to share Gausman's fate was Britton in 2011, the last MLB pitcher to allow two hits or fewer over nine shutout innings without earning the win was Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals on May 20, 2017, against the Giants.
The O's and A's were scoreless through 11 innings, the longest such a contest has gone since the Indians and Twins played 13 scoreless in Puerto Rico on April 18. Minnesota eventually won, 2-1, in 16 innings.
HE SAID IT
"As bad as it gets? I don't live in that world. There's a lot of things going on in this world worse than that. No. It's tough. There's a lot of good things that happened tonight. We just didn't score one more run than they did. We had a lot of opportunities, and I take the positives out of it. I thought it was the best outing that [Givens has] had all year, and of course, [Gausman] too. So when you can do things like that, it gives you a lot of confidence moving forward. We're struggling to put the whole game together." -- manager Buck Showalter, on if Saturday's game was "as bad as it gets" amid Baltimore's struggles
Free-agent acquisition Alex Cobb's tenure with the Orioles got off to a rocky start, but he looked to right the ship in his last outing, in which he allowed two runs in six innings to the Angels for his first quality start of the season. He will look to build on that in Sunday's 4:05 p.m. ET series finale opposite Oakland right-hander Andrew Triggs.
Do-Hyoung Park is a contributor to MLB.com based in the Bay Area.