BALTIMORE — On a night when the old guard of the Boston Red Sox provided the offensive firepower, a rookie pitcher offered a hopeful glimpse of the future.
Dustin Pedroia homered twice and had a season-high five RBIs to back a dominant performance by left-hander Henry Owens, and Boston defeated the Baltimore Orioles 10-1 Wednesday to avert a three-game sweep.
David Ortiz also went deep for the last-place Red Sox, his 35th homer this season and 501st of his career.
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Making his eighth big league start, Owens (3-2) gave up six hits over 7 2/3 shutout innings. The 23-year-old struck out four, walked none and reduced his ERA from 5.25 to 4.33.
”He was really good at spotting up the fastball,” interim manager Torey Lovullo said. ”The changeup was a great secondary pitch today, and he was throwing it at any time in any count. I think it might have confused their aggressive offensive approach.”
The 6-foot-6 Owens was 40-16 in his first three professional seasons before this one. He went 3-8 at Triple-A Pawtucket this year before making his major league debut on Aug. 4.
There’s no telling if he will get a shot at being part of the rotation next year, but this outing certainly gave the Red Sox something to consider.
”I’m pleased with tonight,” Owens said. ”I’ve had a couple of outings where I’ve learned some lessons, and I’m just trying to roll on each outing and learn as much as I possibly can.”
Pedroia hit a two-run drive off Mike Wright (2-5) in the third and a three-run shot against Jorge Rondon in the fourth to stake Boston to a 9-0 lead. The 32-year-old has been solid since returning from a right hamstring strain on Sept. 8.
”Dustin has had a great run since coming back off the DL,” Lovullo said. ”He’s been taking mental at-bats, he’s worked hard to make this moment happen and he deserves the credit.”
One year earlier on this date, the Orioles clinched their first AL East title since 1997. In this one, Baltimore took a step backward in its long-shot bid to snag the second AL wild card.
The Orioles had won six of their previous seven games following a season-defining 3-15 stretch.
"We’ve said we need to go out there and win `em all,” shortstop J.J. Hardy said. ”We lost tonight, but we need to take that same approach going into the next series (at Tampa Bay). Nobody here is giving up and that’s the way we’re going to go about it.”
Making his first career appearance against Boston, Wright fell behind when the 39-year-old Ortiz homered to center on a 2-2 pitch.
Brock Holt singled in a run before Pedroia connected in a three-run third, and Boston added five runs in the fourth.
Wright allowed six runs and six hits in three-plus innings.
”I’m giving up too many hits,” he lamented.
Baltimore scored an unearned run in the ninth inning on an RBI grounder by Steve Pearce.
Red Sox: RHP Joe Kelly has been shut down for the season with a shoulder injury. Kelly won eight straight starts before receiving a no-decision in an abbreviated outing Tuesday night.
Orioles: RHP Miguel Gonzalez seems to be moving closer to returning from a bout with shoulder tendinitis. ”I can tell in his face that he’s feeling good,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Red Sox: Boston gets a day off before sending Rick Porcello (8-12, 5.06 ERA) to the mound Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Toronto.
Orioles: Baltimore begins its final road trip at Tampa Bay on Thursday night. Chris Tillman (9-11, 5.21 ERA) is 5-9 lifetime against the Rays and 0-4 with an 8.42 ERA in his last four games overall.