Ex-LSU star Kevin Gausman takes loss in major league debut

Baltimore Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman looks on after allowing Toronto Blue Jays' J.P. Arencibia to hit a two-run home run during the fifth inning in Toronto on Thursday, May 23, 2013.  (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette) Show caption
Baltimore Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman looks on after allowing Toronto Blue Jays' J.P. Arencibia to hit a two-run home run during the fifth inning in Toronto on Thursday, May 23, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

TORONTO — With his first major league start in the books, Kevin Gausman was looking forward to a good night’s rest.

Edwin Encarnacion hit his fifth career grand slam, J.P. Arencibia homered and drove in four runs and the Toronto Blue Jays beat Baltimore 12-6 on Thursday night, spoiling the ex-LSU star’s major league debut.

“Definitely a learning experience for me, but it was awesome,” Gausman said. “It was everything I could have imagined and more. ... I’ve been waiting my entire life for this. I haven’t been able to sleep very much lately. That was something that was kind of great to get out of the way. Hopefully I can sleep tonight.”

The No. 4 pick in the 2012 draft, Gausman allowed four runs and seven hits in five innings. The right-hander walked two and struck out five.

“He gave us a chance to win against a team swinging the bat as hot as anybody,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I thought he handled himself the way you’d like to see a young pitcher handle himself. He’s only going to get better.”

The youngest starter in the AL at 22 years and 137 days, Gausman showed some veteran composure in the third, loading the bases with no outs before retiring the next three batters.

“His changeup was a big pitch for him tonight, and he was able to use it in some key situations,” catcher Matt Wieters said. “The slider was there if we needed it, too. That’s a good hitting team and a good hitting fastball team, and he was able to make some balls miss some barrels.”

Even Blue Jays manager John Gibbons was impressed.

“He’s got a great arm,” he said. “He pitched with good composure. He looks like he belongs out there. For a debut, he did a heck of a job.”

Promoted from Double-A Bowie to face Toronto, Gausman learned that big league hitters are a cut above the opponents he’s been facing.

“I threw a great changeup 3-2 to (Colby) Rasmus, and he just kind of spit on it,” Gausman said.

“At this level, those guys are so good it’s kind of crazy.”

Gausman (0-1) is the 11th pitcher to start for Baltimore this year. The Orioles used 12 starters last season.

Baltimore’s Chris Davis hit his major league-leading 15th home run, a leadoff shot in the fourth. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones hit back-to-back homers off Brandon Morrow to start the eighth, but it wasn’t enough for the Orioles, who lost for the seventh time in nine games.

Baltimore’s Manny Machado was 3-for-4 with three doubles, boosting his major league-leading total to 21.

Morrow (2-3) allowed six runs and a season-high 10 hits in seven-plus innings.

“It’s frustrating for me to go out give up the two home runs without getting an out there in the eighth,” he said.