Whether Kevin Gausman's strong start Thursday night, in which he shut down a Toronto Blue Jays team with one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball, solidified him a place in the Orioles starting rotation remains to be seen.

But he has made it difficult for the club to do otherwise.

Gausman held Toronto to just one run and five hits in six innings as the Orioles took the opener of their four-game series against the American League East-leading Blue Jays, 4-2, in front of an announced 17,403 at Camden Yards.

"He's done what it takes to be considered,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He's taking care of his end of it. … [Could've been] a little more efficient with some pitches, but he's facing a real good team there offensively, so it's hard to do that. You can't just ask them to make outs early in the count. They're not very cooperative."

In two starts since being recalled from Triple-A Norfolk, Gausman has handcuffed two of baseball's best lineups, allowing just two runs in 13 innings, recording quality starts in both outings.
"His last two outings have been probably the best in baseball," right fielder Nick Markakis said of Gausman. "He's really come a long way since the first time he's been up here."

Gausman, the Orioles' 2012 first-round pick and current No. 2 prospect, according to Baseball America, made it nearly impossible for the team to send him back to the minors.

“I felt good about what I've done,” Gausman said. “I feel comfortable right now and … that's not my decision. Whatever happens is going to be for the club's best interest.”

With right-hander Miguel Gonzalez nearly ready to come off the disabled list and Showalter having pondered the idea of a six-man rotation, it's a good problem to have.

“The good news for us is we've got some other people capable of pitching well, too. Miggy was throwing the ball well before he got hurt, so that bodes well," Showalter said. "We'll see how everybody feels the next day or two and take a look and see where we are. But I was hoping it would be an outcome similar. Gaus, he's pitched well in his two outings. Just hope he's starting to grasp what it takes to consistently help this team win."