BALTIMORE — Bud Norris' best outing of the season came at a good time for the Orioles.
With Manny Machado earning national headlines for his actions over the weekend against Oakland, Baltimore seemed in need of a pick-me-up Monday, and Norris quieted Machado-gate for at least a day.
The Orioles (32-30) held a team meeting before the game, and Machado said he apologized to his teammates for his actions in nearly igniting a brawl against the Atheltics.
But Machado's mea culpa got a little boost, in the form of Norris.
The right-hander struck out six and gave up three hits, mixing in his change-up to hold the Red Sox scoreless and give Baltimore a breather one day after Machado got ejected and took his share of negative feedback.
Norris (5-5) kept Boston off-balance almost from the start, and said it stemmed from time he has put in with pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti when it comes to pitch selection.
"It's something I've been working on, forever," Norris said about his change-up. "It seems to be, like, my third pitch, and I know I need to get it in there. … Some days it's there. Some days it's not. But to go out there and really commit to it and throw it is a good sign."
Tommy Hunter, activated Sunday from the disabled list, tossed a perfect ninth inning to preserve the shutout. Norris bounced out of the dugout before the rest of his teammates seconds after the final out.
If not for a blister that formed as Monday's game progressed, Norris (98 pitches) may well have had his first complete game. Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he didn't like the way Norris' hand looked, so he went to Hunter for the ninth.
"A lot of guys get them here and there," Norris said. "It's an awkward spot for me, but I've got to take care of it the next couple days and I know how to maintain it and so forth, so I think it was a precautionary reason and I understand he's the skipper and he's going to make decisions. I'm OK with that."
Nick Markakis, who went 2 for 4 and extended his hitting streak to 14 games, smacked a two-run home run onto the flag court (his sixth of the year) and gave Baltimore a 3-0 lead in the fifth inning. Two innings later, Ryan Flaherty (2 for 3, two runs) connected with a solo blast, his second home run of the season, and Norris had another insurance run.
Adam Jones went 3 for 4 and paced Baltimore's power with a solo homer in the first, his ninth of the year and the 150th of his career.
Norris gave up a single to Brock Holt to start the game, then retired 13 in a row before Daniel Nava doubled to right with two outs in the fifth. Norris got Grady Sizemore on a comebacker to the mound to get out of it.
Norris allowed a one-out double to David Ross in the eighth, but got Holt on a groundout and struck out Zander Bogaerts for his final batter.
"We needed a well-pitched game," Showalter said. "I wouldn't say he was dominant, but that third pitch kind of puts his game at a different level."
NOTE: Machado said he apologized to everyone, which included Oakland's players, for what transpired Sunday – Machado let go of his bat during the eighth inning, and it flew toward third baseman Alberto Callaspo, following two inside pitches from Fernando Abad. Machado then got into it with A's catcher Stephen Vogt before players from both sides came out of their dugouts.
"I didn't mean to do anything bad or anything. There was no intention," Machado said after Monday's game. "And when I see them again I will get somebody and apologize. That's what it is. We are all grown men in here. That's something that I shouldn't have done and now I have to deal with the consequences."
Norris near flawless in O's win
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