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Owens shows progress in win vs. Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Back on Sept. 2 at Fenway Park, Henry Owens didn't enjoy the feeling of losing to the Yankees -- a performance in which he lasted just 1 2/3 innings. That start was a wakeup call for Owens, one in which he learned what a tiny margin for error there is in the Major Leagues.

Exactly two weeks later, Owens took the mound at Camden Yards and reeled off the finest start of his young career.

Over 7 2/3 shutout innings in Boston's 10-1 win over the Orioles, Owens scattered six hits and notched four strikeouts. But the most important column was the one that had zero.

For the first time in his eight career starts, Owens didn't walk anybody.

"He was dialing up pitches left and right," said Red Sox interim manager Torey Lovullo. "Some of the comments [catcher] Blake [Swihart] was saying as he was coming in from the inning is that he was not missing a spot. You started to hear little things like that and he was just in cruise control and you know that it's going to be a special night for him."

As for the not-so-special day of Sept. 2, what missteps did Owens learn the most from?

"I lost command of my fastball in a few at-bats and I tried to get back with a fastball and that probably wasn't the smartest decision with that lineup," said Owens. "I've got to take my lumps with some of these decent AL East lineups and learn from my mistakes."

With the Red Sox not in realistic contention for a postseason berth, the 23-year-old Owens has the perfect opportunity to take whatever lumps are necessary, while at the same time proving that he can be part of the solution in 2016.

The fact that Owens was able to display such life on his pitches while extending his career high in innings pitched to 166 is another positive sign of where he is headed. Owens made Wednesday's start on seven days of rest.

"Definitely pleased," Owens said. "I think I fell behind some counts and got back with some changeups and curveballs too. That's always a good sign. Finished with some good heaters down. They were maybe sitting soft or whatever. So I'm pleased."

Ian Browne is a reporter for Read his blog, Brownie Points, follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and listen to his podcast.
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