Gausman pitches surging Orioles to fifth win in last six games
BALTIMORE — Never mind that the Orioles were a loss away from the AL East cellar Monday night.
Baltimore has won five of six and still hasn't abandoned hope of making a return trip to the playoffs.
Kevin Gausman pitched six innings of two-hit ball to earn his first victory in six weeks, Adam Jones had two RBIs and Baltimore beat the Boston Red Sox 2-0.
Caleb Joseph had three hits for the Orioles, who moved two games ahead of the last-place Red Sox. Baltimore trails four teams in the hunt for the second AL wild-card spot.
Gausman (3-6) struck out seven, walked four and allowed only one runner past second base. The right-hander was 0-4 in his previous seven starts since Aug. 1.
"If you consistently pitch like he did tonight," manager Buck Showalter said, "he'll get his share of W's."
Gausman was more interested in the overall ramifications of the victory.
"I'm just happy that we won," he said. "That's what it's about right now, winning ballgames, and I think we are playing pretty good baseball."
Brad Brach worked the seventh inning, Darren O'Day and Brian Matusz shared the eighth and Zach Britton got three straight outs to complete the three-hitter and earn his 33rd save.
Baltimore was 62-57 before losing 12 of 13. Now the Orioles are trying frantically to make up the difference.
"We've still got games on the schedule and we still have fans showing up. We still have pride," Jones said. "We're still playing for something. Until we're out of it, until that Game 162, and they say, 'You guys got to go home,' we're going to play hard."
Eduardo Rodriguez (9-6) gave up one run and five hits in 5 1-3 innings for Boston. The 22-year-old had won three straight starts and was vying to become only the second Red Sox left-hander since 1950 to reach 10 wins in his rookie season.
The Red Sox are keeping a sharp eye on Rodriguez's innings count, and in this one he was done after throwing 104 pitches.
"I knew I wasn't going to be long in the game," the lefty said. "I tried to keep the team in a winning position."
Rodriguez did just that, leaving with Boston down 1-0.
Boston leadoff hitter Mookie Betts went 0 for 3 with a walk, ending his 18-game hitting streak.
The Orioles got a first-inning run when Nolan Reimold singled, Manny Machado walked and second baseman Josh Rutledge mishandled an RBI grounder by Jones.
Gausman faced his only jam in the fourth, when two singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out. After Rusney Castillo lined out to second, Blake Swihart hit a fly to center.
Baltimore made it 2-0 in the seventh. Chris Davis singled off Tommy Layne with two outs, and Jones greeted Jean Machi with a run-scoring double.
In the Boston eighth, Betts led off with a walk and pinch-hitter Brock Holt singled. O'Day struck out Xander Bogaerts before Matusz retired David Ortiz on a liner to center and got Travis Shaw on a sharp grounder to first.
Red Sox: Holt was held out of the starting lineup for a third straight day with back spasms. ... LF Hanley Ramirez (shoulder) is "not quite ready to come back" from the DL, Lovullo said.
Orioles: RHP Miguel Gonzalez (shoulder, elbow) threw off flat ground Monday and "got aggressive toward the end," Showalter said. The Orioles hope to get him back in the rotation in the next two weeks.
Red Sox: Joe Kelly (10-6, 4.70 ERA) seeks to win his ninth straight start Tuesday night in the second game of the series.
Orioles: Ubaldo Jimenez (11-9, 4.22 ERA) has won his last two starts. But he's 2-3 with an 8.06 ERA lifetime against Boston.