8/26/17 -- Orioles shut out the Red Sox in Boston on Saturday afternoon. (Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Sun)
Right-hander Kevin Gausman carried a shutout into the eighth inning and a five-run second inning provided all the support he would need as the Orioles topped the Boston Red Sox, 7-0, on Saturday before a sellout crowd of 36,655 at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox (73-56) managed four hits off Gausman (10-9), and just three runners reached second base against him as he lowered his ERA down to 4.98 and put him below 5.00 for the first time since moving above the mark on April 18, his fourth start of the season.
"You knew it was there," manager Buck Showalter said. "He's working on six days' rest and I told you our guys really have responded well to that. That's why I was able to give him a little longer leash today. But Kevin never gave in. And he's getting the type of return you should get for that type of location. … I was telling him, and I've heard the good pitchers like Curt Schilling talk about it, that the ability to get back in a count with a well-located 2-0 fastball is huge, when you show guys you can do that."
The threats against him, however, were minimal. In the first inning, right fielder Mookie Betts singled and advanced to second on an error by center fielder Adam Jones, but Gausman left in there. Gausman walked two around three strikeouts in the third inning, and had two on with one out in the fifth inning before coaxing a double-play ball from second baseman Eduardo Nuñez.
After that, Gausman allowed just two more singles and was chased when Betts singled up the middle with two outs in the eighth. Left-hander Richard Bleier got the final out of that frame, while right-hander Darren O'Day pitched a scoreless ninth.
Gausman now has quality starts in six of his past eight tries, and has a 2.26 ERA during that stretch.
"To get to where I'm at right now, throwing the ball better than I was in the first half, I wouldn't say that I'm proud of myself, but I'm proud of myself for not just letting it be a whirlwind and a snowball effect and kind of just let the season get away from me," Gausman said.
The win moved the Orioles (64-65) within a game of .500, and within two games of the Minnesota Twins for the second wild-card spot.
"We're still playing meaningful games right now, and we need not just me but all the starters to really kind of pick it up," Gausman said. "If we're going to make the playoffs, starters are going to have to do their part. That's the biggest part. We have to win games like today. You get a lead early, you've got to be able to kind of shut the door."
In the Orioles' breakout second inning, designated hitter Mark Trumbo and right fielder Craig Gentry had already posted run-scoring singles when shortstop Tim Beckham and Red Sox left-hander Eduardo Rodríguez (4-4) went to battle. Rodríguez threw three straight balls to open the at-bat, and by the time it was done, he threw Beckham nine straight fastballs. The ninth caught too much of the plate, and ended up being a three-run home run over the Green Monster to give the Orioles a 5-0 lead.
"Don't ask me," Showalter said. "I was the dumb guy. I gave him the take 3-0. … We knew in a 4 o'clock start, about the second or third inning through the seventh inning it's really hard to see here, so you better get your damage done early."
It was Beckham's only hit of the day, but gave him 18 extra-base hits in 24 games with the Orioles.
Schoop's second base record
With his seventh-inning home run that plunked off the flag pole in deep center field for his team-high-tying 28th homer of the season, second baseman Jonathan Schoop drove in his 95th run and broke the Orioles record for most RBIs by a second baseman. The prior record was set by Roberto Alomar in 1996.
"Pretty good company," Showalter said. "Real good company. … Those are the things that really get your attention, because there's not a better second baseman all-around than Robbie Alomar was. But there's a chance someday they'll be talking about Jonathan like that."
Three for Trumbo
With an RBI single in the Orioles' five-run second inning, an infield single to open the fourth and a single in the ninth, Trumbo has back-to-back multihit games and brought his average up to .241. It hasn't been that high since July 28, before he went on the disabled list with a rib cage strain.
Gentry getting going
Gentry's two-hit, two-RBI day continued a strong stretch at the plate since he had his contract purchased from Triple-A Norfolk on July 30. His run-scoring double in the ninth inning brought his average to .371 (13-for-35) since returning to the club.