The Boston Red Sox showed up at Oriole Park on Monday with sole possession of first place in the American League East.
Then they showed why.
Knucklerballer Steven Wright tied the Orioles in knots for all nine innings and the Red Sox scored four times in the seventh inning on the way to a 7-2 victory before 43,926 that extended their division lead over the Orioles to two games.
Orioles starter Tyler Wilson delivered a quality start, allowing three earned runs over 6 2/3 innings, but allowed a tie-breaking home run to Jackie Bradley Jr. in the sixth inning and didn't get much help from the bullpen. He took the loss and fell to 2-4 on the year despite a decent 3.83 ERA.
"I felt good and I felt like it was a really competitive back-and-forth game,'' Wilson said. "I was a little frustrated with how we put up two there in the fifth against a tough guy like Wright and then go out in the next inning and not execute a pitch. … Overall, I was proud of the way the guys came out and fought today after a tough road trip."
Rookie left-hander Ashur Tolliver allowed a long home run to David Ortiz – the 517th of his career – to lead off the eighth and Mychal Givens gave up a three-run shot to Marco Hernandez – the first of his career – later in the inning.
The O's, meanwhile, scored just two runs in the fifth inning and did not clear the fences on an afternoon when the wind was blowing out to center field. They lost for the sixth time in their last eight games.
"That was a challenge,'' said designated hitter Mark Trumbo. "He (Wright) had great stuff today. The ball never ended up where it started. Can't really predict where to swing. You just hope you get one that doesn't move quite as much."
Replay follies: The Red Sox's first run of the game was something of a gift, since replays showed that the nubber that ended up scoring Mookie Betts from second base actually came off the foot of Xander Bogaerts. Buck Showalter tried to argue the play, but none of the umpires saw it and – apparently – that is not a reviewable play.
Bottom feeders: Wright had the heart of the Orioles lineup under control throughout Monday's game, so the guys in the lower third of the batting order had to take over. Nolan Reimold, Ryan Flaherty and Caleb Joseph combined to reach base five times in their first six plate appearances and accounted for the only two Orioles runs in the fifth inning. Meanwhile, the top five spots in the lineup managed just two baserunners – the first on a fifth-inning walk by Hyun Soo Kim and the second on a ninth-inning walk by Trumbo.
Reimold rocks, rolls: Reimold was the first Orioles hitter to get a solid base hit when he hammered a long line drive to right-center field to lead off the fifth and motored all the way to third base. Ryan Flaherty quickly poked a double down the left field line to drive in the first O's run and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Adam Jones to tie the game, albeit briefly. Flaherty had not driven in a run all season until Sunday and now has an RBI in consecutive games.