BOSTON -- Steven Wright baffled the Orioles with his knuckleball over 7 1/3 innings and Hanley Ramirez ended his power drought with a monster three-run homer to lead the Red Sox to a 6-4 victory that put the two teams back in a tie for first place in the American
BOSTON -- Steven Wright baffled the Orioles with his knuckleball over 7 1/3 innings and Hanley Ramirez ended his power drought with a monster three-run homer to lead the Red Sox to a 6-4 victory that put the two teams back in a tie for first place in the American League East.
The Red Sox and O's, who have occupied the top two spots in the division for most of the season, play the rubber match of this three-game series on Thursday night.
Wright's 2.22 ERA is second in the AL. The righty (8-4) had a shutout going through six, but Adam Jones spoiled it with a two-run homer in the seventh.
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"There's a lot of confidence by our guys. There's a lot of confidence by all of us when he takes the mound and he's earned that," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "We've developed that trust in him because of his consistency. Even when he's misfired with his knuckleball, he's got a couple of other pitches he can go to so he's not defenseless if that pitch is a little erratic for an inning or a couple of innings."
Ramirez's three-run rocket paced a five-run third that gave the Red Sox a 6-0 lead.
"It's difficult. It's more approach than technique, I guess," Orioles designated hitter Mark Trumbo said of facing Wright. "And there's some luck involved, too. Some of those pitches are moving quite a bit, so you just hope to get one that maybe doesn't move quite as much and catches more plate."
Orioles righty Kevin Gausman (0-4, 4.14 ERA) was hit hard in his short stint, allowing seven hits and six runs over three innings.
"We've had some decent success against him," said Farrell. "He's got a great arm. Big-time velocity. We've been able to handle it in some of those occasions. We get a mistake in the middle of the plate with a breaking ball that Hanley hits out of the park for the three-run homer. It was a quality offensive night tonight."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Hanley hammers one: Ramirez picked the perfect time to end his month-plus stretch without a home run when he tattooed one way over the Green Monster for his first long ball since May 10. Ramirez had gone 110 consecutive at-bats without a home run before unloading on an 82-mph slider from Gausman.
"I've been working on my timing, trying to stay back and use more of my hands," said Ramirez. More >
O's rotation still struggling: Gausman couldn't deliver for an Orioles' pitching corps that has been inconsistent. The winless righty went a season-low three innings, watching his ERA balloon to 4.14.
"Especially with after the way [Chris] Tillman pitched last night, I was really excited in wanting to be the stopper again today. Didn't do it," Gausman said. "In a game where, against a team that's really good, in obviously a series that means a lot right now. I wanted to come out and hit the ground running and pitch well and I just didn't do that." More >
Shaw comes through:Travis Shaw is another slumping player who provided an important hit for the Red Sox. With two outs in the the second, the left-handed hitter laced an RBI double off the Green Monster. It was just the third extra-base hit this month for Shaw.
"Hopefully [Hanley's] turning the corner, as with Travis Shaw as well," said Farrell. "Some good at-bats here tonight from him. Those two guys in particular really allow us to lengthen out the lineup."
"Get ready. Get your ticket -- first class. It's about to get hot." -- Ramirez, talking about his offense
"Look at it this way, he's got the best ERA in the American League and if he was in the National League, he might be leading all of baseball. Look at the guy leading in the other League, it's [Clayton] Kershaw at 1.50-something and that's about the equivalent of what an American League ERA is so we knew we were going to have our work cut out for us." -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on Wright
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
With Wright battling for the league lead in ERA, it's interesting to note that the last knuckleballer to lead either league in ERA was Phil Niekro, who won the NL ERA title in 1967. More >
Red Sox left fielder Chris Young left the game in the top of the ninth with tightness in his right quad. He is day to day. Boston already has two left fielders on the disabled list in Brock Holt and Blake Swihart. Rusney Castillo might get his first start of the season if Young is unable to go on Thursday.
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UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Red Sox used their first challenge minutes into the first inning on a two-out, aggressive steal by the Orioles left fielder Hyun Soo Kim while Chris Davis was batting. On a 1-2 pitch, Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez picked up on the jump for a ready Xander Bogaerts at second base. Kim was initially ruled safe by umpire Mike Winters but after a 58-second replay review, the call was overturned to caught stealing.
Orioles:Tyler Wilson will be pitching on six days' rest and will try to help the Orioles take the series in Thursday's finale at Fenway Park at 7:10 p.m. ET. Wilson is 2-5 with a 4.73 ERA on the year.
Red Sox: Lefty Eduardo Rodriguez, who has been trying to find his way since coming off the disabled list, pitches the rubber match of this three-game series on Thursday.
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Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.