Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman was pitching a gem, but the Red Sox pitchers were matching zeros with him. Gausman went eight innings, but the game went 11 and the winning run scored on a bases-loaded wild pitch.
Boston beat the Orioles 1-0 to take the first two games of this series and win their first series this year against the Orioles, who fall to 73-79 with 10 games left. They have lost 11 of 13 games and are 5-14 over the past 19 games.
Pitching the top of the 11th of a 0-0 tie, right-hander Brad Brach allowed a high-chop infield hit to Jackie Bradley Jr. With two outs, Brach walked back-to-back batters to load the bases for Mitch Moreland, then bounced a 1-0 pitch as Bradley scored the only run of the night.
Going into last night, the Orioles had just two extra-inning losses all year and now they are 12-4 while Boston is 15-3.
Much earlier, Gausman retired the first 14 batters he faced before allowing a two-out single to Rafael Devers in the fifth. He pitched out of a two-on jam with two outs an inning later. He threw a 1-2-3 seventh and used a double play grounder to get out of the eighth. He was rolling. He threw 15 or fewer pitches in six of those eight innings, throwing 12 or less five times.
He gave up just three singles over eight innings with one walk and seven strikeouts. He threw 106 pitches, 68 for strikes, in lowering his ERA to 4.61 for the season and to 2.26 over his past 12 starts. This was his seventh scoreless start of the season and fifth in his last 11 games.
Meanwhile, a couple of nice defensive plays by Boston kept the Orioles from scoring in the first five innings. With two outs in the third, Manny Machado doubled to left. But he was thrown out by left fielder Andrew Benintendi trying to score when Jonathan Schoop singled.
In the last of the fifth, Chris Davis drilled one to the wall in right-center, but Bradley made a leaping catch to rob Davis of a homer. According to ESPN Stats and Info, Davis has been robbed of homers nine times over the last three years to lead the majors. No one else has more than three. After Bradley’s defensive gem, Austin Hays doubled off the wall, but was stranded at second.
In the last of the sixth, the Orioles put two on with two outs against Boston starter Drew Pomeranz. But Mark Trumbo struck out to end the inning, chasing a high fastball as the game was 0-0 through six.
Pomeranz was replaced by Carson Smith with one out in the seventh. He gave up five hits over 6 1/3 scoreless on 98 pitches and lowered his ERA to 3.15. He began the game with a record of 7-1 and 2.86 ERA in 12 second-half starts.
Now 87-64 with 10 wins in its last 13 games, Boston will go for a three-game sweep tomorrow night with Chris Sale on the mound.
Catcher Caleb Joseph on Gausman: “He was great. Eight innings, shutout. I thought he was in control the whole time. Really had his fastball and didn’t make a lot of mistakes. His second half has been pretty impressive. He’s done a really nice job and it is really good to see for us as a club. That is kind of who we hoped and expected him to be. Great game from him.”
Joseph said Boston made two pivoal defensive plays: “Both of those plays were really nice plays. Schoopy with a two-strike hit and then C.D. crushes a ball to center field. He made it look so effortless. It amazes me how these outfielders can run and they know exactly where the wall is without even looking. That’s how it’s going. The story of our 2017 season. We get an unbelievable pitching performance and have two chances to score. One may have won the game. It is frustrating. It is.”
Gausman on his night: “You know, fastball command. Had a really good feel for my four-seam and my sinker, so, you know, Caleb did a great job back there sequencing guys and setting up guys and my defense played great. Was just throwing a lot of strikes.”
Gausman on the difference now from earlier in the year: “I think not trying as hard. I think earlier on, I was kind of pressing. Trying to have a good year straight out of the gate and I think maybe I was just trying to do too much. Kind of simplified my delivery and feeling good with all my pitches.”