WASHINGTON - Kevin Gausman's second career major league start began much worse than his first. And it didn't end any better either.
The 22-year-old right-hander gave up seven runs in four innings, six of which were scored on a trio of home runs, as the Baltimore Orioles fell to the Washington Nationals 9-3 before 35,664 at Nationals Park Tuesday.
After retiring the first batter he faced, Gausman gave up back-to-back singles to Steve Lombardozzi and Ryan Zimmerman. Adam Laroche then belted a three-run homer to right-center.
"I just kind of missed my spot on that one pitch," Gausman said. "After that inning, I was kind of hoping that was all it was going to be."
In the bottom of the fourth, with the game tied 3-3, Gausman yielded two more home runs. Tyler Moore jacked a two-run homer to left-center and was followed by a solo shot to right-center by Roger Bernadina.
It was the second time the Nationals (27-25) have hit back-to-back homers this season.
"I got in some hitter's counts and left some pitches up," Gausman said. "Right there, I've got to be better and I've got to hit my spot. Not only hit my spot, but make more of a pitcher's pitch."
Later in the fourth, Denard Span laced a two-out RBI double to right to make it 7-3. Gausman made it out of the inning, but would be pinch-hit for in the fifth, ending his night.
He gave up seven runs on eight hits and had no strikeouts.
"They adjusted some with him," Showalter said. "He just elevated some fastballs.
"He'll make the adjustment. He's a good young man and a good athlete with a bright future ahead of him."
Showalter added that Gausman will make his next scheduled start Sunday against Detroit.
In his debut last Thursday against Toronto, Gausman (0-2) gave up four runs on seven hits in five innings, but started the game with three scoreless innings.
"I've only had two starts and all the pitches that I leave up get hit pretty far and pretty hard," Gausman said. "That's something I've just got to keep working at."
After falling behind early, the Orioles' bats were able to get them back into the game. Matt Wieters hit an RBI double down the right-field line in the top of the second, scoring Chris Davis from first base because Nationals right fielder Roger Bernadina misplayed the ball.
In the fourth, Davis blasted his 17th home run of the season to right to cut Washington's lead to 3-2. Davis has homered in four his last seven games and six of his last 10.
Two batters later, J.J. Hardy tied the game at 3-3 with his 10th homer of the season to left-center. Hardy has had a hit in 21 of his last 23 games.
The rest of the game, however, Baltimore (28-24) could not muster any more offense. After drawing a pair of one-out walks in the fifth, Nationals reliever Zach Duke (1-1) got Nick Markakis to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Washington starter Nathan Karns made his major league debut, but was not a factor in the decision. He only gave up three runs on five hits, but left after 4 1-3 innings after walking Nate McLouth and Manny Machado back-to-back in the fifth.
Hardy led the seventh off with an infield single, but then Yamaico Navarro grounded into a double play and Alexi Casilla struck out looking to end the inning.
McLouth and Machado led the eighth off with back-to-back singles, but Baltimore had three flyouts to end the inning.
"We had some opportunities to score," Showalter said. "We just had a tough time keeping the ball in the ballpark.
"We'll move on. This has been a six-game road trip and everybody's looking forward to getting home."
NOTES: The game began after a rain delay, which lasted 1 hour, 21 minutes. ... Nate McLouth stole his 16th base of the season in the fifth. He is tied for the AL lead with Boston's Jacoby Ellsbury.