BOSTON — The Orioles did not shine on their west coast trip, and, despite returning to Camden Yards, they still have not looked like a strong playoff contender. This weekend’s series against the Red Sox changed that. For the first time since 2014, the Orioles completed a three-game sweep at Fenway Park.
On Friday, the Orioles played as close to a perfect game as they could get. The Offense lit up the scoreboard with 16 runs, and the pitching staff was efficient while protecting the lead.
Every Orioles starter posted at least one hit and scored at least one run in the dominate win, but there were standout performances. Jonathan Schoop lead the way by going 4/5 at the plate and coming around to score three runs. Trey Mancini generated the most runs by posting three hits and driving in four runs.
It’s easy to focus on the extremely potent offense, but the pitching staff was just as effective in the win. Jeremy Hellickson tossed a strong seven innings to pick up his second win as an Oriole. The 30-year-old starter threw while allowing all three Red Sox runs, but only two were earned. Richard Bleier and Mike Wright each pitched an inning of relief and collectively gave up two hits.
When playing a team like the Red Sox there is usually no room for error. However, the Red Sox essentially gifted Friday’s game to the O’s by playing careless and sloppy defense. Boston was credited with five errors that allowed the Orioles to easily run up the score.
Five pitchers were used by the Red Sox in Friday’s game, including first baseman Mitch Moreland. Surprisingly, Moreland displayed one of the best pitching performances for Boston on Friday. The first baseman surrendered just two hits and even struck out Caleb Joseph in his inning of work.
The Orioles offense went right back to work in the second game, this time shutting out the Red Sox 7-0. Going up against Eduardo Rodriguez, the O’s posted five runs in the fifth thanks to a pair of RBI singles and a three-run homer by Tim Beckham. By the end of the inning, Rodriguez was well over fifty pitches and the Red Sox were in danger of blowing up their bullpen again.
Rodriguez fought his way through 6.2 innings, but the damage had already been done. The Red Sox were held scoreless while the O’s added two more runs in the late innings on a solo homer by Schoop and an RBI double by Craig Gentry.
Kevin Gausman was excellent in his start. The 26-year-old pitcher worked his way through 7.2 innings, lowering his ERA to 4.98. The start marks Gausman’s second longest of the year and earns him his tenth win.
Sunday’s series finale was the closest of the series but the Orioles found away to edge past the Red Sox once again. Doug Fister took the mound for Boston and gave them some much-needed stability after Fridays blowout. Fister pitched through seven innings and surrendered just two runs. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, this was still too many as the offense only managed one run.
Wade Miley continued the Orioles stretch of quality starts by giving up just the one run through five innings of work. Mychal Givens, Bleier, Miguel Castro, and Brad Brach combined to finish the final four innings. Surprisingly, Buck Showalter opted to keep Brach in the game for a five out save despite only holding a one run lead.
Zach Britton has not pitched since Wednesday when he snapped his lengthy save streak.
The Orioles offense came in the first inning when Adam Jones and Mancini both picked up an RBI double. The Red Sox lone run of the afternoon was also scored via double.
This three-game sweep has certainly rejuvenated the O’s chances moving forward. They will remain at home at the beginning of next week to host the Mariners. Seattle is currently sitting one game ahead of the O’s in the standings which should make for another exciting series.
Image Credit: Associated Press