BALTIMORE -- For all their shortcomings this season, the last-place Orioles have seen a noticeable uptick in their second-half offense. That is, until David Price on Saturday.
Price silenced the O's over six innings, picking up his sixth consecutive win against them with a 10-strikeout performance in Baltimore's 5-0 loss to Boston in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
"He's a great pitcher, and his backdoor cutter to right-handed hitters is a ball out of his hand and the recognition on it is fastball off the plate," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Price, who has the longest Red Sox win streak against the O's since Jonathan Lester won seven straight from 2008-09. "When he's able to come in there [with that] and with the four-seamer ... he got a lot of outs with the changeup too, today."
The Orioles -- fresh off scoring 12 runs in Friday's loss -- mustered up just five hits with Price on the mound as they were handed their 10th shutout of the season. Baltimore, which ranked second to last in the Majors with 345 first-half runs (an average of 3.56 per game), entered Saturday with 117 runs in 19 second-half games (6.16 per game), trailing only Texas.
But scoring chances off of Price were few and far between. Adam Jones singled to open the fourth, but Price struck out the side. The lefty also worked around Jones' one-out double in the sixth, which was the 300th double of his career as an Oriole.
"This is definitely a place I enjoy pitching," Price said. "The mound, the backstop -- all that plays into account. They're a tough team to pitch against. They always score a lot of runs year in and year out. Just because you're playing the Orioles right now, you don't take them for granted or look past them because they can score runs in bunches as well."
Rookie Cedric Mullins, who became the first Oriole in club history to collect three hits in his debut on Friday, continued to provide a bright spot. The 23-year-old center fielder picked up his fourth career hit with a single to right field in the fifth.
Starter Jimmy Yacabonis, the O's 26th man for the twin bill, cruised until the fifth, when homers from Eduardo Nunez and Jackie Bradley Jr. ended his afternoon and staked the Red Sox to a 3-0 lead.
Yacabonis, who was stretched out to be a starter this spring, has presented himself well in three big league starts.
"Definitely developed my secondary pitches from the reps and having that extra day to throw bullpens and work on stuff," said Yacabonis, who allowed just one hit through the first four innings. "I definitely feel like I'm progressing to the point where I can read hitters better, definitely see what guys are looking for. By the first pitch of the at-bat, I kind of know what the guy's approach is. So that's definitely helped."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Summoned before the game, Yacabonis was in an early-afternoon duel with Price before Nunez got the green light on a 3-0 pitch. The Red Sox's third baseman sent Yacabonis' pitch just on the right side of the left-field foul pole for a two-run homer that gave Boston the lead and the momentum.
"He's a work in progress like a lot of our young pitchers," Showalter said. "He's growing a little bit from the experience he's getting. ... He's made a lot of progress. Proud of him."
GILMARTIN CALLED UP
The Orioles selected the contract of Sean Gilmartin prior to the game, and the lefty entered in the fifth inning after Yacabonis. Gilmartin allowed one run on three hits with two walks over 2 1/3 innings.
"Definitely good to get back out there on a big league mound for sure," said Gilmartin, who entered with 66 career Major League appearances. "Didn't really do a good job of getting ahead of hitters. I struggled with that all day long, but I was able to make pitches when I needed to and get outs."
The lefty had an interesting day, with his driver not arriving at the airport and then taking off with his equipment bag in the truck. But Gilmartin laughed it off later.
"Took about a good 20-30 minutes [for him] to drive back and drop off my stuff. That was a little stressful," Gilmartin said. "Got through it. Interesting day." More >