Orioles complete three-game sweep of Red Sox
BOSTON — Never too high, never too low.
One might think Baltimore’s surprising three-game sweep of American League East-leading Boston would bring a sense of excitement to the Orioles’ clubhouse and panic to the Red Sox’s.
But that’s not the case on either side.
“Still a long way to go,” Adam Jones said matter-of-factly after the Orioles’ 2-1 win capped a weekend sweep of the Red Sox on Sunday at Fenway Park.
Baltimore (65-65) extended its winning streak to four games and pulled within eight games of Boston (73-57) while staying only two games back of Minnesota for the second AL wild-card spot.
The Red Sox’s lead atop the AL East dwindled to 2 1/2 games after the New York Yankees’ 10-1 rout of the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.
“We’ve been working hard, but we’re not where we need to be yet,” Boston starter Doug Fister said. “That’s something that we can continue to build upon, and striving to get better.”
Jones and Trey Mancini drove in one run apiece for the Orioles to supplement an effective start from Wade Miley (8-10), who surrendered one run, seven hits and three walks with four strikeouts in five-plus innings.
Brad Brach secured the final five outs for his 17th save.
Rafael Devers doubled twice and drove in the Red Sox’s only run. Fister (3-7) allowed two runs, five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in a seven-inning defeat.
It was Baltimore’s first three-game sweep of Boston since June 9-11, 2015, and its first such sweep at Fenway since Sept. 8-10, 2014.
The Orioles outscored the Red Sox 25-4 over the weekend, winning the opener 16-3 on Friday and then 7-0 on Saturday. Baltimore improved to 10-6 against Boston this season.
“We just try to play our game and try to get to September 1st with a position to make a move at somebody,” Jones said.
Boston matched its longest losing streak of the season, and Sunday’s loss marked the first time the Red Sox had been swept in a three-game set all season.
“We’re in a little bit of a dry patch,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “You look at the last four games, early leads given up to the opposition.
“But you take away that the turn of this last game in this four-game stretch ... we played a solid game, and yet a two-out base hit was elusive.”
The Red Sox stranded 13 runners on base and went 1-for-13 at the plate with runners in scoring position.
Devers’ one-out RBI double in the sixth inning halted the Red Sox’s scoreless streak at 19 innings and trimmed Boston’s deficit to 2-1.
The Red Sox loaded the bases twice in the first six innings, but Chris Young flied out to end the fifth and Mookie Betts struck out to conclude the sixth.
Baltimore pushed across a pair of two-out runs in the first as Jones and Mancini slapped RBI doubles in consecutive at-bats against Fister.
NOTES: Boston dropped slumping 3B Rafael Devers from fifth to eighth in the batting order. The 20-year-old entered the game with two hits in his last 27 at-bats and went 2-for-4 with two doubles. ... Boston LHP David Price (left elbow inflammation) threw for a third straight day, mixing in breaking balls and throwing from 90-120 feet. CF Jackie Bradley Jr. (left thumb sprain) hit in the cage before the game and has experienced “major improvements” the last 48 hours, manager John Farrell said. ... Boston 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee inflammation) will run the bases during the team’s trip to Toronto. ... Orioles LHP Zach Britton tested his left knee in the bullpen after his precautionary MRI exam on Thursday. “He needs to pitch,” manager Buck Showalter said. Britton did not appear in a save situation and was unavailable, Showalter revealed after the game. ... Orioles RHP Chris Tillman (1-7, 7.75 ERA) starts against the Seattle Mariners. Red Sox LHP Drew Pomeranz (13-4, 3.18 ERA) faces the Blue Jays on Monday.