Red Sox use wild pitch to beat Orioles 1-0 in 11 innings
BALTIMORE (AP) Though they rank last in the AL in home runs, the Boston Red Sox have found plenty of other ways to win – especially in extra innings.
Jackie Bradley Jr. scored the game’s lone run on a wild pitch by Brad Brach in the 11th inning, and Boston used six pitchers to silence the Baltimore Orioles’ bats in a 1-0 victory Tuesday night.
Boston has won 10 of 13 to move a season-high 23 games over .500 (87-64) and draw closer to clinching a postseason berth. The Red Sox started the day with a three-game lead over the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.
It was the second straight tight, lengthy game between these AL East rivals. Boston won in 11 innings on Monday night and is 15-3 in extra-inning games – tying a franchise record for extra-inning wins set in 1943.
In this one, pitching and defense proved to be the winning formula. After Drew Pomeranz allowed five hits over 6 1/3 innings, five relievers held the Orioles hitless the rest of the way.
”They’ve been able, to a man, hand it off to the next guy and continue to build a bridge until we can scratch out a run – tonight not even with an RBI,” manager John Farrell said. ”We find a way to push a run across.”
With a runner on second and two outs in the 11th, Brach (4-5) walked Andrew Benintendi and Mookie Betts to load the bases for Mitch Moreland, who sidestepped a bouncing pitch from Brach that enabled Bradley to score without a throw.
Joe Kelly (4-1) worked the 10th and Matt Barnes got three outs for his first save.
”They’ve been unbelievable,” Boston’s Brock Holt said of the bullpen. ”That’s why our record is what is in extra-inning games, because of those guys.”
The game stretched into extra innings in part because Bradley made a sensational catch to rob Baltimore slugger Chris Davis of a home run in the fifth inning. Bradley quickly judged the trajectory of the ball while running to his left, then left his feet and stretched his arm over the 7-foot wall in center field.
The finish came after Pomeranz and Kevin Gausman locked up in a scoreless duel that was essentially the exact opposite of Monday night’s 10-8 slugfest.
Although he didn’t get his 17th win, Pomeranz lowered his ERA to 3.15 and set a career high by pitching at least six innings for the 17th time (in 30 starts).
Gausman was even sharper, giving up just three hits over eight innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.
The right-hander retired the first 14 batters he faced before Rafael Devers singled off the right-field wall.
Baltimore threatened in the third inning when Manny Machado hit a two-out double, but he was thrown out by Benintendi trying to score on Jonathan Schoop’s single to left field.
No one else got to third base until the sixth, when Baltimore had runners at the corners with two outs before Pomeranz struck out Mark Trumbo with a high, outside fastball.
The Orioles have lost 11 of 13 to fall out of contention.
”They’re very frustrated right now,” manager Buck Showalter said. ”You can imagine grinding as our guys have since February and not being able to push a run like that across in some of these games when we pitch well. That’s been a challenge for us. I feel for them because I know how much it means to them.”
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia, who left Monday’s game in the fourth inning after fouling a ball off his nose, did not start but was used as a pinch hitter in the 10th inning and grounded into a double play. Farrell said Pedroia will likely return to the starting lineup Wednesday. . DH Hanley Ramirez (left arm soreness) was out of the starting lineup for the sixth consecutive game. Farrell said Ramirez was available to pinch hit and is likely to start Wednesday.
Red Sox: Chris Sale (16-7, 2.86 ERA) will seek to match his career high in wins Wednesday night in the series finale. He needs 13 strikeouts to become the first AL pitcher with 300 in a season since Pedro Martinez in 1999.
Orioles: Wade Miley (8-13, 5.32 ERA) has lost his last three starts. The left-hander gave up six runs and got only one out against the Yankees on Friday night.
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