BOSTON -- One crooked inning was all the Orioles needed on Saturday against the Red Sox in a 7-0 win at Fenway Park. The O's will go for a three-game sweep on Sunday.
Just as Baltimore did on Friday, the club pounced on Boston's starting pitching early, tagging Eduardo Rodriguez (aka "El Gualo" for Players Weekend) for five runs in the second inning. After RBI singles by Mark Trumbo and Craig Gentry (aka "Gent"), Tim Beckham (aka "Swaggy T") belted a three-run home run off of the sign above the Green Monster.
"Timmy's brought a lot for us, especially in that leadoff spot," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Swaggy T. "He's really made things fit well offensively."
With the Yankees getting a 6-3 win against the Mariners, the Red Sox's lead in the American League East was trimmed to 3 1/2 games.
Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman (aka "Gausy") handcuffed the Red Sox through much of the game. He allowed four hits in 7 2/3 innings for his 10th win of the season.
"We had a really good scouting report on these guys and had a good feel for what we wanted to do," Gausy said.
Rodriguez settled down after the second inning, retiring 10 of the last 11 batters faced, but he ended up allowing five runs on seven hits in 6 2/3 innings for the loss. He's yet to get a win in eight starts since coming off the disabled list.
"You look back at a handful of his recent starts, and it all comes down to one inning," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "After that second inning, he does settle in with a full complement of pitches."
Jonathan Schoop (aka "Mamba") tacked on another run in the eighth inning when he belted a solo home run off the flagpole in center field. It marked Schoop's 95th RBI of the season, which set a new Orioles single-season record for a second baseman. Gentry added an RBI double in the ninth.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Beckham's blast puts O's in command: The Orioles had already put two runs on the board when Beckham stepped to the plate in the second inning. With two runners on and two outs, Baltimore's shortstop grinded out a nine-pitch at-bat against Rodriguez. Beckham ran the count to 3-0 and took a strike before fouling back four straight fastballs. On another fastball, Beckham unleashed a shot over the Green Monster seats. According to Statcast™, the three-run shot went 394 feet and left the bat with an exit velocity of 102 mph.
"I didn't want him to get me looking at a fastball again," Beckham said. "He kept going there, and I wanted to keep fouling him off until I got a pitch I could handle and do something with." More >
Key DP snuffs Sox threat: In the bottom of the fifth, the Red Sox began showing a little fight as they were finally able to mount a threat vs. Gausman. A 10-pitch at-bat by Christian Vazquez resulted in a walk that put Sox baserunners on first and second with one out. On the second pitch to Eduardo Nunez, a Gausman heater induced the perfect double play, and a routine 4-6-3 had the Orioles out of trouble and trotting back to the dugout.
"He had a well-located fastball. He had power. He was down in the strike zone with a good late split," Farrell said. "Today, he didn't make any mistakes. He had quality location throughout."
"You've got to trust players. They've got to trust you. I've seen the work that he and [pitching coach] Roger [McDowell] do, and I knew it was there. He's working on six days' rest. Our guys really have responded well to that, and that's why I was able to give him a little longer leash today. Kevin never gave in, and he's getting the type of return he should get with that type of effort." -- Showalter, on Gausman
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With his 95th RBI of the season, Schoop surpassed Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar for most runs batted in by an Orioles second baseman.
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Left-hander Wade Miley looks to close out a strong August with another win in Sunday's finale at 1:35 p.m. ET at Fenway Park. The O's southpaw is 2-1 with a 2.78 ERA over four starts this month. Baltimore has gone 5-2 over Miley's past seven outings.
Red Sox: Right-hander Doug Fister (aka "Fist") gets the nod in the series finale after one of the best starts of his career. He tossed a complete game on Tuesday against the Indians, allowing just one hit (a leadoff home run to Francisco Lindor) for the win.