Baltimore Orioles: Kevin Gausman shines in near shared spring no-no

The Baltimore Orioles and Kevin Gausman almost had a shared no-hitter this afternoon in Clearwater against Philadelphia. Oriole pitching took the no-no seven and a third innings this afternoon, and it was broken up by none other than Ryan Flaherty, with a base hit. Gausman’s line: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K.

Nevermind the potential no-hitter, but this was easily the best outing of the spring by any Oriole starter. Gausman faced nine batters, retired them all, and in fact struck out all but one of them. When asked after coming out whether he was happy with the results of the outing, Gausman adamantly said that he was (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):

Absolutely. I think anytime you take a step in the right direction is good, especially in spring training. Just to even get up and down three times, that’s a good step in the right direction.

Chance Sisco smacked an RBI-double to the left field corner in the top of the second to give the O’s a 1-0 lead. And that score stood up for quite awhile. After that it was really just pitchers on both sides retiring hitters. Obviously as time went on the game grew a life of it’s own because the O’s hadn’t surrendered a hit.

No-hitters during spring training happen (in fact, Philadelphia threw one a few years ago against the Orioles), but they don’t count towards any statistics in terms of no-hitters in a franchise’s history. Certainly it’s still something on which to hang one’s hat, and obviously the Orioles were hoping that they could close it out. But while this is still spring and you don’t really judge wins and losses, while the game’s going on between the lines you’re certainly trying to win. The O’s still did that today, so that’s to their credit.

Anthony Santander‘s two-run homer in the eighth extended the Orioles’ lead to 3-0. The only downside of the game however was that the Orioles loaded the bases twice in that eighth inning, and only netted one run – on a Susac walk with the bases loaded later in the inning. However the name of this game was pitching, and I think we got a look at some of the pitching depth that the Orioles actually do have in the organization.

Philadelphia did threaten in the last of the eighth, but they couldn’t catch up. A sac fly-RBI and an RBI-double cut the Orioles’ lead to 4-2, however that’s as close as Philadelphia got. At the end of the day the O’s went home to Sarasota with a 4-2 victory – and a near no-hitter.

First baseman Chris Davis underwent an MRI this afternoon on his elbow/forearm area. He’s had soreness there the past few days, and it caused him to DH in the Orioles’ last two home games in Sarasota. This is something to watch, as it would be a major blow to the Birds to have Davis injured and miss any amount of regular season time. The Orioles also announced that they had optioned pitcher Chris Lee to triple-A Norfolk.

The O’s will return to Ed Smith Stadium tomorrow for their first home meeting with the division rival Boston Red Sox. Gabriel Ynoa gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Jalen Beeks. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

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