BOSTON - Orioles catcher Matt Wieters produced his 11th sacrifice fly last night, tops in the majors, to score the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth inning.
Wieters had been tied with Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart.
Forty-eight of Chris Davis’ 51 home runs this season have come as a first baseman, tying Jim Thome (2002) for the most at the position in the American League since 1974.
Third baseman Manny Machado was having a frustrating night. Two errors, a missed tag and two popups to short in consecutive at-bats. But he showed me something again by following Nate McLouth’s leadoff single in the eighth with a double to right field.
It was a solid at-bat, and it spoke volumes about his mental toughness.
Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland entered Friday night’s game in Toronto with the score tied in the bottom of the seventh inning. He gave up two hits in one-third of an inning, but Tommy Hunter stranded the runners.
McFarland entered last night’s game in Boston with the score tied in the bottom of the sixth inning. He retired the side in order with two strikeouts.
Has McFarland’s role changed? Is he no longer being held back for long-relief duty and emergency work?
“He’s pitched a lot of meaningful innings this year,” said manager Buck Showalter. “One of the reasons we’re here is he’s given us some innings. And it’s like the guy who walks in and, if you want to pitch more, then pitch better. When you pitch better, it gives you more opportunities.”
Check out the key contributors to last night’s win. They include McFarland and Kevin Gausman, the first-round pick in 2012. Gausman replaced McFarland and tossed a scoreless seventh inning, the only runner reaching on Machado’s second error. Gausman got the next batter, Shane Victorino, to ground into a double play.
“This isn’t instructional league or tryout camp. This is who we are,” Showalter said. “Gausman who was at LSU last year and McFarland, who was a Rule 5 pick, against the Red Sox, trying to get into the playoffs. I think our guys realize we’re going to come from all ilks and we’re giving them an opportunity.
“Mac ain’t scared, Gaus ain’t scared. That’s why I liked (Chris) Tillman from the get-go.”
Jim Johnson recorded his 46th save last night. Yes, he has nine blown saves and eight losses, but on Sunday he became the fifth pitcher in baseball history with at least two consecutive seasons posting 45 or more saves, joining Craig Kimbrel, Eric Gagne, Francisco Rodriguez and John Smoltz.
Danny Valencia is 9-for-17 with three doubles, a triple and a home run against the Red Sox this season. He was 4-for-28 with Boston last year.
The Red Sox are starting another right-hander, Jake Peavy, tonight in the second game of the series. It doesn’t matter anymore. The splits are meaningless. Valencia will be the designated hitter because he’s 15-for-37 this month.
Valencia is 2-for-11 with a home run lifetime against Peavy.
Shortstop J.J. Hardy doubled last night and has hit safely in eight of his last nine games, batting .303 (10-for-33) with five doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored.
The Orioles held the Red Sox to three hits last night, joining Tampa Bay as the only teams to do it more than once this season.
The Orioles went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position last night and are 37-for-177 (.209) in their last 23 games. They’ve gone 11-12 in that span.