O's sweep Sox, shave magic number to 8

Six-run third backs Chen's seven innings of three-hit ball

O's sweep Sox, shave magic number to 8

BOSTON -- Boston has been real good to the Orioles.

Baltimore (86-59) dominated the last-place Red Sox the entire three-game set, with Wednesday's lopsided win the latest show of force, whittling the O's magic number -- now down to 8 -- and maintaining their commanding American League East lead. Backed by a magnificent effort by starter Wei Yin Chen, who took a perfect game into the sixth inning, the O's used a six-run third to outdistance themselves in a 10-6 victory and secure a sweep at Fenway Park.

"We're trying as fast as we can to seal our deal, so we're trying to win every single game that we can," catcher Caleb Joseph said after the Orioles held off Boston's five-run rally attempt in the ninth.

"Late in the season, it's kind of easy after you've won two games to just kind of be content with that, but this group, I've never been part of a group that -- as [Adam] Jones would say -- stays hungry to win every day. And that's a testament to the leadership that we have here. These guys come out and post up each and every day and they kind of lead us, and the other guys, we just try to follow them because they've been there and done it. We're just trying to do as they do."

The victory, which improved the O's to 34-19 against the Sox since 2012, also clinched the season series between the two for the third consecutive year. The Os haven't won three consecutive season series against Boston since taking four in a row from 1964-67.

"You watch the games. None of them are easy," manager Buck Showalter said of his club's sweep. "Winning a Major League game is one of the hardest things to do in sports. It's nine innings. It's a grind, every night. This is one of those sports where you can never drop your guard and assume anything."

Chen gave the Orioles some early confidence, needing just 59 pitches to get through five perfect innings while holding the Red Sox to one run over seven dominant innings.

"It comes across your mind, but still a perfect game is very difficult to do," Chen said through his interpreter of whether the possibility of having a special afternoon crept into his mind. "I just tried to concentrate on each at-bat, and if I had it, I had it. If I don't, it's OK."

Chen's quest was ended with Dan Butler's one-out double off the Green Monster in the sixth, but the lefty allowed just two hits after that in the 93-pitch outing before Ryan Webb took over.

"He's been a guy that's notoriously pitched effectively against us," Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Chen, who has a team-leading 15 wins. "He pitches right-handers in. He's got multiple secondary pitches that he can go to, but I think more than anything, it's the consistent location that he shows and today wasn't any different than the way he's been pitching all year."

The Orioles' offense did the rest, piling on Red Sox starter Brandon Workman by batting around in the third. Red-hot Alejandro De Aza got things going by driving in Ryan Flaherty -- who had four hits on the day -- and Adam Jones followed with a two-run double. Joseph, who hit a two-run homer off Craig Breslow in the fifth, and Flaherty both singled in runs to complete the six-run frame.

"It was nice to give Wei-Yin a little help -- not that he needed any," said Flaherty, who became the third O's player to tally two hits in the same inning this season. "It was a big offensive inning, early in the game, and really set the momentum."

Boston made things interesting in the ninth, scoring five runs off Orioles reliever Joe Saunders. Making just his second appearance for Baltimore this season, Saunders allowed a two-run double to Daniel Nava followed by Carlos Rivero's three-run homer. After Tommy Hunter recorded the next out, Darren O'Day came on to get the save and preserve the sweep.

"Our guys never assumed anything," Showalter said. "That's one of the things about this club, that's why they kept adding on runs. You know [the Red Sox are] going to get a run on you, especially in this ballpark." 

Brittany Ghiroli is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, and follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.