BOSTON -- This was a reminder that perhaps the Orioles are in real competition for a wild-card spot. The Boston Red Sox had 16 runners on base and just one of them scored as Orioles pitchers kept escaping seemingly unescapable jams.
The Orioles left Fenway Park with a three-game sweep after a tense 2-1 win over the Red Sox before 36,625 on Aug. 27.
With the win, the Orioles moved back to .500 at 65-65 for only the second time since June 29. After they began a 10-game West Coast trip with a win on Aug. 7, they were at the break-even point, but hadn’t revisited it since.
"We walked eight of their guys. That usually bites you," manager Buck Showalter said. "We were lucky to catch them with some of their key people hurt. Sometimes, you catch a break there. But our guys did what it took. As far as the atmosphere, they’ve done great things this year and we were fortunate today. You usually don’t win those types of games."
While the Orioles are still two games behind Minnesota for the second wild-card spot, they’re at last passing teams ahead of them. The Orioles moved ahead of Kansas City, and have a three-game series with Seattle beginning Aug. 28. The Mariners are just 1/2 game in front of the Orioles, who have won four straight.
"It's August. Late August. We're just trying to get ourselves to September 1st in a solid position," center fielder Adam Jones said. "We know what the atmosphere is like playing here. We just try to play our game and try to get to Sept. 1 with the position to make a move at somebody."
Jones and left fielder Trey Mancini hit back-to-back doubles in the first giving the Orioles a quick 2-0 lead, but they had just three singles after that.
Wade Miley opened his outing with five scoreless innings, stranding eight Boston runners. But after Xander Bogaerts led off the sixth with a double, the left-hander was pulled for Mychal Givens.
The right-hander got two outs but allowed a run-scoring double to Rafael Devers. After left-hander Richard Bleier walked Andrew Benintendi to load the bases with two outs, Miguel Castro struck out Mookie Betts to end the sixth.
Castro, the right-hander who has been put in higher-leverage situations, walked three in 1 2/3 scoreless innings. He was rescued by right-hander Brad Brach who got the final two outs in the eighth inning on loud outs to right fielder Craig Gentry and a clean three outs in the ninth, the only 1-2-3 inning recorded by the Orioles.
Showalter said that closer Zach Britton, who had his streak of 60 successfully converted saves broken on Aug. 23, was unavailable, but that he should be ready to pitch Aug. 28.
"Friday, Buck poked his head in and said, 'Zach’s probably not going to be available, so kind of be heads-up,'" Brach said. "He never says exactly what is going to be the plan, but you kind of just have an idea that’s somebody’s going to slide back there. I just had the feeling once I went out there it was probably going to be me for the last five outs there."
The left-hander had an MRI on his left knee Aug. 24, which was reported to be unremarkable.
"Yesterday, didn’t like the way he felt at the end. Today, he felt good," Showalter said. "It’s a long story with a brace and stuff that he normally wears. We felt like if we could get one more day that he’d be a pitcher for us tomorrow. But we’ll see what it brings. We’ve got a long recovery period from today to tomorrow."
The Orioles have 32 games left.
"I think for us, there’s no time to waste. We’ve got to win," Brach said. "It doesn’t matter who it’s against. Any time we get to come up to Fenway and take three from them, it’s a big deal. We’ve just got to win games right now, so it definitely had a late-season feel. Every game, you could feel a little bit of extra pressure right now cause we have to get back in the standings."
NOTE: The Orioles begin a 10-game homestand with a three-game series against Seattle on Aug. 28. RHP Chris Tillman (1-7, 7.75) faces LHP Marco Gonzales (0-1, 6.23).