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Orioles recap: Birds pull within one game of first with 1-0 win over Red Sox

One of the odd quirks of this year's Orioles team is how poorly it has played away from Camden Yards. But now, with the regular season down to its final weeks, the Orioles returned home Wednesday night after having their best road trip of the season.

Yes, it took until mid-September for the Orioles to post three series wins on the same road trip, but that's what they did over the past nine games with their 1-0 win over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night at Fenway Park, finishing a trip in which they also took two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays and Detroit Tigers.

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"It's an outstanding road trip, no matter where you are in the season or in the standings," designated hitter Mark Trumbo said. "It's fairly well accepted that you try and split on the road if you can. With three-game series, that's not going to be the case. To win two out of three in each city is tremendous, and it's exactly what you need at this point in the year."

The win was anchored by eight scoreless innings from right-hander Kevin Gausman (8-10), who outpitched Cy Young Award contender Rick Porcello (20-4).

Gausman allowed just four hits — all singles — in matching his longest outing of the year.

The game's only run was scored on Trumbo's major league-leading 42nd homer of the season in the second inning. Porcello allowed just four hits in eight innings and retired 19 of the last 20 batters he faced after J.J. Hardy's two-out single in the second inning.

Series wins over two fellow playoff contenders — the Tigers and Red Sox — allowed the Orioles to return home in a much better position than when they left.

They are just one game back of the division-leading Red Sox in the American League East. They own the first AL wild card by a game over the Toronto Blue Jays and by two over the Tigers.

The Orioles (80-65) return to Baltimore for an 11-game homestand, their longest this season, starting Thursday night against the Rays.

"Seemed like we've been gone for a couple years," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We're all looking forward to getting back to some supportive people. We've been in some pretty hostile areas."

Even after winning six of nine on this trip, the Orioles would still have to win all six of their remaining road games — they end the regular season with three-game series in Toronto and New York — to finish the regular season above .500 on the road.

Trumbo with a monster homer

After the Orioles hit three homers in Tuesday's win, a stiff wind blowing in kept the ball inside Fenway Park on Wednesday. But Trumbo connected on a first-pitch cutter, sending it well over the Green Monster in left field in the second.

"I got him pretty early in the game," Trumbo said. "You can't really foresee what's going to happen later on, but obviously pretty fortunate to get something on the board early. Not a ton of breathing room for Kevin, but maybe just enough."

Trumbo's solo blast was his third in nine games this season at Fenway Park, tied for his most in any opposing ballpark this season. He has five homers against the Red Sox this season, which is his second most against any team in 2016 (Yankees, six).

Britton shuts door

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One day after a four-out save with a 16-pitch outing Tuesday, Orioles closer Zach Britton converted his 43rd straight save opportunity, remaining perfect on the season with a scoreless ninth inning.

Britton had to navigate through the heart of the Boston batting order, retiring David Ortiz on a grounder to first, getting Mookie Betts on a flyout to left and striking out Hanley Ramirez swinging to end the game.

"Zach, really the last couple years, has really been ridiculous," Gausman said. "You look at how much his ball moves with the velocity he throws it, it's special. He does something that nobody else in the game can do, and from the left side. So obviously, you see Hanley's last at-bat, he threw some really good pitches and kind of got his number on that last at-bat. He's kind of been that way for the last couple of years like I said, and he just continues to impress and be a leader in our clubhouse. Anytime you give the ball to him, you feel confident."

eencina@baltsun.com

twitter.com/EddieInTheYard

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