The Boston Red Sox really are that good and they've been proving it to the Orioles all season.
The day after they buried a big Orioles lead under a 19-run onslaught, David Price put them to sleep Saturday afternoon with a 10-strikeout performance in a 5-0 victory at Camden Yards.
It was the 12th time the first-place Red Sox have beaten the Orioles in 14 games.
The first game of a day-night doubleheader had all the earmarks of a potential mismatch, with a Cy Young Award winner for the winningest team in baseball (now 83-35) going against a rookie right-hander who came in with 32 innings of major league experience.
Jimmy Yacabonis (0-1) was making only his third major league start and he would come out on the losing end, but he wasn’t scared and he wasn’t overmatched … at least not early on.
He held the Red Sox to just one hit over the first four innings and was locked in a scoreless tie with Price until he allowed a two-run home run to Eduardo Núñez with one out in the fifth.
Things went a bit south from there. Yacabonis got one more out before Jackie Bradley Jr. hit a long homer, Mookie Betts singled and manager Buck Showalter popped out of the dugout.
“He was good … really good,’’ Showalter said. “That was well-needed. You’d have taken that going into it — to get through that game using three pitchers, when we obviously didn’t do much off Price.”
Yacabonis said he would like to have a couple of pitches back, but felt like he had a better sense of what he was doing out there in his third career major league start.
“Just a couple of pitches, if I execute them a little bit better, I probably put up a zero in that inning,’’ he said. “It happens. I at least got it to the fifth.”
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That’s progress for a young man who is in the early stages of acclimating to a starter workload.
“Definitely developing my secondary pitches, just from getting the reps and having the extra day to throw bullpens and work on stuff,’’ Yacabonis said. “Definitely feel like I’m progressing to the point where I can read hitters better. I can definitely see what guys are looking for. After throwing them the first pitch of the at-bat, I kind of know what the guy’s approach is, so that’s definitely helping, too.”
Enter left-handed reliever Sean Gilmartin, who was officially added to the Orioles’ 25-man roster about a half-hour before game time. He came up from Triple-A Norfolk to give the Orioles some flexibility after Friday night’s bullpen-busting loss and he did that, allowing a run on three hits over 2 1/3 innings.
The Red Sox added a fifth run in the ninth inning on Bradley’s second home run of the game, off Miguel Castro in the ninth.
Price (12-6) was dominant. He allowed just five hits over six innings and only one of those for extra bases. He struck out 10 batters for the first time this season and the 37th time in his career.
The only extra-base knock for the Orioles (35-82) was a sixth-inning double by Adam Jones that was the 300th double of his Orioles career. Jones is the seventh Orioles player to reach that plateau. He also had a single off Price in the fourth inning.
There obviously weren’t a lot of offensive highlights for the Orioles, but new center fielder Cedric Mullins got to face a former Cy Young winner for the first time in his young career. He struck out in his first at-bat, but sliced a line drive to right field for a single in his other plate appearance against Price.