BOSTON - The Orioles improved to 44-32 on the road tonight, their win total the best in the American League. They’ve won eight of their last nine games at Fenway Park.
“That’s hard to do, but I’ve said many times, that one common denominator for teams that get a chance to play in the postseason is, you’ve got to compete on the road,” said manager Buck Showalter.
“Having guys like Jim Johnson and Darren O’Day and (Miguel) Gonzalez is what allows you to do that. It’s the pitching. What having guys that make runs and leads matter does for morale of a club over a long season like we play is so important.”
Miguel Gonzalez turned in his third quality start in his last four outings by holding the Red Sox to two runs in 6 1/3 innings.
“Most of the time when you give a guy that much time like we need to give Miguel, he’s a little strong early, which was the case when you see him up like that,” Showalter said. “I thought his last two innings were the best. He got a feel for his split and location came back to him.
“His high school coach was here tonight. That was pretty neat. I met him before the game. He traveled a long way (from California) to watch. You say, ‘I hope he pitches well,’ for that situation as much as anything, but it doesn’t surprise me. He’s been pitching good for a long time.”
Gonzalez appreciated the extra rest before tonight’s start. He had only one issue - adjusting to the mound.
“The mound is different from the bullpen to the one that they have on the field,” he said. “The one out there is a little higher. I think I adjusted better throwing that changeup.”
Beating the organization that released him last winter brought little satisfaction.
“No. I think every win matters,” Gonzalez said. “It doesn’t matter where you pitch. Every at-bat, every pitch, every inning matters right now, and we’ve just concentrated on that. It doesn’t matter where we play.”
Matt Wieters drove in the first three runs with a single and double.
Asked which was more special, the three RBIs or catching Jim Johnson on the closer’s record-breaking night, Wieters replied, “Both are nice, but it took me a second to click in. I think when I was walking to the mound, I realized ‘Hey, he just broke an Orioles save record,’ so that was pretty cool to get to catch that one. It’s big for him. As good as he’s been this year, for him to be able to hold that record is special.
“He’s been the best in the league. That’s how we feel in this clubhouse. Anytime we can get him the ball, we feel pretty good about what kind of job we are going to get.”
And here’s what Boston starter Jon Lester had to say about the Orioles after he lost to them for the first time in 21 starts:
“I think Buck’s done a good job over there as far as trying to change the mentality of the players. The offense was always there. They could always hit the ball and run and do the little things inside the game, but they lacked a little pitching, whether it was the starting or the back end of the bullpen. They’ve done a good job of filling those pieces and it’s finally coming together for them.”