BOSTON -- David Price was an efficient, strike-throwing machine on Thursday night at Fenway Park, turning in his best performance of the season and one of his best as a member of the Red Sox.The lefty came one pitch away from throwing his fourth career shutout but settled for a
BOSTON -- David Price was an efficient, strike-throwing machine on Thursday night at Fenway Park, turning in his best performance of the season and one of his best as a member of the Red Sox.
The lefty came one pitch away from throwing his fourth career shutout but settled for a complete game as the Red Sox rolled to a 6-2 victory over the Orioles to increase their Major League-leading total in wins to 30.
• J.D. stays red-hot with HR, exits with illness
"He was amazing," said Red Sox manager Alex Cora. "Using both sides of the plate. He was outstanding. I mean, you saw it. Bad swings. Up, down. In and out. Changeup. Cutter. Sinkers. That was fun to watch."
Price needed just 95 pitches to go the distance. Manny Machado ruined his shutout bid with a two-run rocket over the Green Monster with two outs in the ninth.
All the recent concerns about Price's trouble with pitch mix and location -- not to mention the mild case of carpal tunnel syndrome that forced him to miss a start in New York -- were quelled with a tremendous performance.
Price threw 36 two-seamers, six four-seamers, 30 cutters, 22 changeups and one curve.
"I used my fastball a lot more today, especially early on," said Price. "To be able to go out there and get through the lineup once by using the fastball a lot more, it's in those hitters' minds. That makes everything better -- not just being able to use it but being able to locate it where I was trying to go with it. It was pretty good today."
Magnificent as he was, Price had plenty of support from his teammates. J.D. Martinez (two-run shot) and Xander Bogaerts (three-run dinger) both went deep for the second straight night. The defense made a slew of standout plays. And the running game was also in top form with a season-high five stolen bases.
• Xander thinks he can elevate game to new level
Price was vintage, mowing through Baltimore at a tick over 10 pitches per inning. He walked none and struck out eight.
"Yeah, it was good to see defensively what they did," said Cora. "I mean, it was a fun game to watch. Very clean. What David did on the mound was amazing, and the at-bats and running the bases, it was probably one of the best games we have played all season."
The best news for the Red Sox is that Price seems to be out of the rough patch he was in a couple of weeks ago. This was his second consecutive solid start after the carpal tunnel annoyance.
"It does feel a lot better than it did 10, 12 days ago, whenever it happened," said Price. "So we'll stay on top of it and keep it rolling."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Martinez mashes then rests: Martinez is in that zone that great hitters get in sometimes. He mauled an 82.1-mph splitter from O's starter Kevin Gausman in the bottom of the first to give Price a quick 2-0 lead. It was the second straight night Martinez clocked a two-run homer in the first. The slugger has four homers in his last five games, eight in his last 15 and 13 for the season. With a 6-0 lead, Cora took Martinez out of the game in the bottom of the seventh due to illness.
"He's doing OK. Just, for me, it didn't make sense to send him out there the way he was feeling. He should be back tomorrow," Cora said.
Of the 14 times Price has thrown nine innings in his career, this was the fifth time he's done it with less than 100 pitches. This was his first complete-game victory for the Red Sox. It was the first time he has pitched nine innings in a game since joining Boston in 2016.
YOU GOTTA SEE THIS
The most humorous part of the three-run shot by Bogaerts that broke the game open for the Red Sox was the sight of Orioles manager Buck Showalter going to the mound to remove Gausman before the home-run trot was even complete. Bogaerts had just passed third base when Showalter basically walked right by him.
"I mean, I don't know if you can do that or you can't. I wasn't worried either," said Bogaerts. "But I kind of saw him as I was rounding third, you know? At that time, I was focused on touching the bases and getting my home run. But I saw him, I didn't think anything of it, but afterwards, the guys, they've never seen stuff like that happen on a daily basis. That was weird."
HE SAID IT
"I talk with him whenever I need or feel something. He obviously gives me advice. It's not that I have to do whatever he says. We're different types of hitters, obviously. He hits 40 [homers], but whenever I'm not feeling good or I'm doing something weird, I go to him and he helps me out a lot." -- Bogaerts, on the mentoring impact of Martinez
In the second game of this four-game series against the Orioles on Friday night, the Red Sox will try to jump on Alex Cobb, a righty they are familiar with from his time with the Rays. As if Martinez isn't hot enough of late, he is 6-for-10 lifetime against Cobb with two doubles and a homer. Thomas Pomeranz (1-1, 5.47 ERA) gets the start for Boston. First pitch at Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.
Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.