The Red Sox may not have won this series against Baltimore, but after a 10-1 rout in the final game, they'll leave with six more runs scored than allowed. If only the Sox could swap the pitching or hitting from Tuesday night with this, they'd be tied with the Orioles right now in the standings. Instead, after two close losses, they have one big win, as Henry Owens came through with better than seven scoreless innings, and Dustin Pedroia went deep twice in support.
Henry Owens has been in need of a game like this one. Over his last three starts, the young lefty has had two short-but-productive outings with questionable peripherals, and one complete disaster. 10 walks in 12 innings seemed to highlight the worst aspects of Owens' game, with the short length of even his successful outings an unsurprising byproduct.
Wednesday night...not so much. The first six Orioles to step up to bat headed back to the dugout without reaching base, and when Gerardo Parra finally singled in the third, J.J. Hardy immediately grounded into a double play to erase him. It would take until the fourth for a baserunner to stick against him, with Nolan Reimold reaching first on a ground ball single and not progressing past it.
And by then, the game was already over. Rookie starter Mike Wright entered the game with a 5.45 ERA for the Orioles, and the Red Sox didn't help it any. After a quiet first, it looked like Ortiz was bailing out Wright by chasing a pair of pitches in an at bat where Wright was clearly not willing to throw the ball within two yards of the designated hitter. But the fifth pitch wasn't far enough outside, and Ortiz crushed it to dead-away center to reach thirty-five homers for the sixth time in his career.
The floodgates didn't open just yet. Wright turned the second around completely by retiring the next three batters on just eight pitches. Instead, it took until the third. Jackie Bradley Jr. led off the inning by drawing a walk, moved to second on a ground ball, then came home on a Brock Holt single. Then, with two outs, Wright left a slider up in the zone against Dustin Pedroia, and was once again punished for a missed location with a home run, this time good for two to make it 4-0.
Then came the fourth, and the effective end of the game. First, though, the end of Wright's night, after Rusney Castillo and Blake Swihart started the frame single-double to put to men in scoring position. Jackie Bradley Jr.'s quest for a hit continued (and would not be filled by the night's end), but Deven Marrero picked up his first of three hits on the night, knocking in Rusney Castillo. The carousel continued with another hit from Brock Holt, and while Pablo Sandoval's bid to make it three straight found Adam Jones' glove it center, it just brought Dustin Pedroia to the plate for more of what he provided last inning, getting another high offering and hitting it out just a little further to left than the last time, giving the Sox an insurmountable 9-0 lead.
For Owens, there was no real trouble in store. The worst that came from the Orioles was a pair of singles in the sixth, and Roman Mendez--reclaimed from the Rangers after five years away--got the last out of the eighth to keep Owens' scoreless outing intact. The only thing standing between the Red Sox and a shutout was Ryan Cook in the ninth. So obviously they didn't manage that.
Ryan Cook is bad. Really bad. But that makes him one bad thing in a very good game. You'll hear no complaints after a 10-1 win.