Making his mark

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Picayune’s T.J. House was solid, but certainly not splendid, in his debut as a starting pitcher in the Major Leagues.

The 24-year-old House, a southpaw with the Cleveland Indians, gave up five runs on 11 hits in six innings and took the loss in an 8-4 decision to homestanding Baltimore Friday night. He walked two and struck out one. He gave up two homers.

Chris Davis went 2-for-3 with a home run and four RBI’s for the Orioles, while Nelson Cruz belted his major league-tying 15th homer of the season for Baltimore.

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To his credit, House didn’t get chased in the early innings. He handled some rough early innings well and made it through six innings. As the Tribe lost for the first time in five games and the Orioles won at home for the first time in six.

“My goal is to go as long as I can,” House said. “I did the best I could. I got six innings and (the coaches) were a little happy with that but I feel like I could do a better job.”

House got through the first inning unscathed despite giving up a pair of hits, but served up Cruz’s third homer in four games in the second and was touched for two more runs in the third.

Markakis singled and Jones was hit by a pitch to set up Davis’ double into the right-field corner that put Baltimore up by a 3-0 count.

“I thought I pitched pretty well, left a few balls in the zone and guys got a hold of it,” House said. “At first it was a little bit nerve-wracking. But after the first couple pitches, I calmed down a lot.

“They ended up hanging on my mistakes. I felt like they were pretty decent pitches and they were hacking. They’re a very aggressive team and I knew that coming out. I didn’t do my job. I’ve got to be able to hold the fort down when they give me the lead.”

Indians manager Terry Francona believed the ball Davis hit out of the park was an offering out of the strike zone.

“When you get a hitter that dangerous feeling good about himself, they can do some damage,” Francona said of Davis. “[House] kept his poise, he kept pounding the strike zone.”

House got through the rest of the fifth unscathed and pitched a 1-2-3 sixth before departing with Baltimore up 5-4.

Francona said House, 24, a 16th round draft pick in 2008, needs to learn American League hitters. “As you learn the hitters and learn the league, he has enough there to win and to be successful,” Francona said. “There were times, like (Nick) Markakis (who went 4 for 5), he didn’t get in enough to him and he’s such a good hitter, he kept going to left field.”

Francona said he liked House’s poise and way he pounded the strike zone.

“He gave up a lot of hits, paid for some of his mistakes, but saying all that, he kept his poise,” Francona said. “The outs he got with the ground ball outs, the double-play type, that’s what will make him really effective. As you learn the hitters and learn the league, he has enough there to win and be successful.”

“He went out there and kept us in the game,” Jason Giambi, who homered to help give The Indians a brief 4-3 lead in the fourth frame, said. “It’s just unfortunately one tough pitch to Chris Davis.”

“I didn’t do my job in that aspect,” House said. “I’ve just got to go out there and be able to hold the fort down when they give me the lead and that’s something that I’ve got to do a better job of.”

House is expected to make his next start Wednesday night in Chicago against the White Sox.

“It was fun,” House said. “Obviously the results didn’t end the way I wanted them to, but I had a good time out there. Next time I get a chance to do it I hope to be able to perform a little bit better.”