Sox stifle O's in finale to cap series of shutouts
By Aaron Leibowitz and Maureen Mullen
Special to MLB.com |
BOSTON -- The Red Sox completed a sweep of the Orioles on Sunday at Fenway Park, blanking Baltimore for a third consecutive day in a 2-0 victory. Boston outscored the O's, 17-0, during the three-game set to close out the regular season at home.
Rookie left-hander Henry Owens was lights-out for the Sox, tossing 7 2/3 innings with three hits and one walk, while striking out five. Red Sox pitchers have thrown 29 consecutive innings of scoreless ball.
"Another solid outing," said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo. "He just had one little hiccup -- it was a 29-pitch sixth inning -- but outside of that, it was an outstanding effort. He held a very good team in check and preserved a lead. Command of his fastball was very good, the secondary stuff even better."
All three of the hits Owens allowed were singles.
"He's just attacking guys," Red Sox catcher Blake Swihart said. "He's got a four-pitch arsenal and he's just going after guys and getting outs."
Boston took the lead in the first when Brock Holt darted home on a wild pitch that bounced away from Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph. Swihart added a solo homer in the third inning off Baltimore starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who struck out six over seven solid innings.
The Orioles finished the series with 12 hits, 10 of which were singles.
"Everybody's trying so hard to get it back with one swing, and this game doesn't work like that," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his club, which slipped to 5 1/2 games back of the second American League Wild Card spot. "It's tough to slow down when you're trying to push. That's why I tell my hitters, 'In basketball and football, you can push. In baseball, hitting, sometimes you push too much and it gets worse.'"
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Red Sox capitalize on miscues: The Red Sox scored eight runs on Saturday, but just two were earned as they capitalized on the Orioles' defensive lapses. On Sunday, Holt walked with one out in the first inning, taking third on Xander Bogaerts' single to left. With two outs and David Ortiz at the plate, Jimenez's pitch in the dirt brought Holt home for the first run of the game.
No big hits for Birds: The Orioles pushed a runner past first base on two occasions, and both times they were unable to capitalize. With men on first and third and two outs in the sixth, Owens got Steve Pearce to ground out to third. In the eighth, after Manny Machado hit a two-out double, lefty reliever Tommy Layne struck out Chris Davis. The O's left seven men on base in the loss.
"Sometimes, you've got to tip your cap to the pitchers," said Orioles center fielder Adam Jones. "They had us off balance the entire series. We hit balls hard right at guys. Just nothing to show for it."
Oh, Henry! Owens pitched a gem for Boston, allowing just one baserunner to reach third base -- Machado, with two outs in the sixth. Owens threw 110 pitches -- 70 for strikes -- improving to 4-3 and lowering his ERA to 3.84. More >
Britton returns: Orioles closer Zach Britton pitched a scoreless eighth inning in his first appearance since Sept. 20. Britton was dealing with a left lat strain, but he said he felt good in his return, finding his rhythm after he watched Machado make a slick play to start the inning.
"A little rusty [with] seven days off, but I calmed down after the first hitter," Britton said. "Manny made an awesome play, which he normally does. I think once I saw that play from Manny, I kind of settled down a bit."
"We've got a week left of baseball, so that means we've got a week left of playing our tails off. We look at it that way." -- Jones, on the Orioles' approach to the rest of the season
"It was great to be a part of. I couldn't be happier with the result today." -- Owens, on the standing ovation he received upon exiting the game
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Orioles were shut out in three straight games for the first time since July 29-31, 1957. The Red Sox recorded their first sweep of at least three games without allowing a run since Sept. 19-21, 1958. More >
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: The O's begin a four-game series vs. the Blue Jays at Camden Yards on Monday. Right-hander Chris Tillman (10-11, 5.16 ERA) takes the ball at 7:05 p.m. ET, looking to improve upon a 15.50 ERA against Toronto in five starts this season.
Red Sox: Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will make what could be his final start of the season Monday when the Red Sox open a four-game series at Yankee Stadium at 7:05 p.m. ET. Boston is monitoring the young lefty's workload this season, and he is expected to pitch just six more innings. Rodriguez is just the second Red Sox lefty since 1918 to have beaten the Yankees twice in a season before turning 23, along with Billy Rohr in '67. Rodriguez is 2-1 with a 2.45 ERA in three starts against the Yankees.