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Dylan Bundy has shortest outing of the season as O's lose to Red Sox

Dylan Bundy has shortest outing of the season as O's lose to Red Sox

BALTIMORE  -- David Price took a three-hitter into the eighth inning to earn his first win of the season, Hanley Ramirez homered and drove in three runs and the Boston Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 5-2 on Saturday night.

Price (1-0) allowed one run over seven-plus innings in his second start since coming off the disabled list with a strained left elbow. After belatedly launching his 2017 season with an uneven outing against the White Sox on Monday, Price looked every bit like a five-time All-Star against Baltimore.

The left-hander gave up three hits, struck out seven and did not allow a runner past first base until Manny Machado led off the seventh with a home run. That was the only flaw in an otherwise sparkling performance that enabled Price to improve to 12-5 lifetime against the Orioles, including 7-0 at Camden Yards.

Craig Kimbrel gave up a ninth-inning run, but picked up his 16th save in 17 tries.

Boston took the lead for good in the fourth inning when Ramirez lined an 0-2 pitch from Dylan Bundy into the left-field seats after Xander Bogaerts drew a leadoff walk.

Bundy (6-4) threw 100 pitches over five innings in his fourth start this season against Boston. He's 2-2 in those games.

After Machado connected in the seventh, the Red Sox went up 4-1 in the eighth against Ubaldo Jimenez. Bogaerts hit a run-producing grounder and scored on a double by Ramirez.

The victory -- Boston's first in a four-game series that concludes Sunday -- lifted the Red Sox past Baltimore into second place in the AL East.

NOTEWORTHY

Four of Ramirez's seven HRs this season have come against the Orioles. ... Baltimore fell to 19-9 at home. ... Red Sox rookie OF Andrew Benintendi ended an 0-for-19 skid with a sixth-inning single. ... Boston's Mookie Betts got two hits and now has 499 for his career. ... RH batters were 0 for 47 against Kimbrel this season until Mark Trumbo singled in the ninth.

ASHER ENCORE

Orioles RHP Alec Asher was so impressive Friday night against Boston (6 1/3 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs) that manager Buck Showalter named him the starter Thursday in Washington. Asher has thus far started twice since replacing Jimenez in the rotation.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Red Sox: INF Josh Rutledge was a late scratch due to dehydration. ... Manager John Farrell said 2B Dustin Pedroia's injured wrist continues to improve. Pedroia was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday. "We project that his first day eligible, he'd be ready to go," Farrell said. . Reliever Matt Barnes was unavailable while attending a personal matter, but is expected to return Sunday.

Orioles: C Welington Castillo could end up spending the minimum time on DL after sustaining a testicular injury Tuesday night. "I'm hoping the last day or two of the 10 days that he's a go," Showalter said.

UP NEXT

Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (6-2, 2.77 ERA), who has won his last five decisions and leads the majors with 110 strikeouts, gets the start in the series finale Sunday.

Orioles: Making his sixth start since coming off the DL, Chris Tillman (1-2, 5.87 ERA) seeks to rebound from a rocky outing (2 2/3 innings, 5 runs) against the Yankees on Tuesday.

More Orioles: D.C. AREA MASCOTS SNUBBED IN DEADSPIN RANKING

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Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

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USA Today Sports

Kevin Gausman changes jersey number to honor Roy Halladay

BALTIMORE  -- Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman will wear No. 34 next season as a tribute to Roy Halladay, who was killed in a plane crash last month.

Gausman announced the switch Thursday on his Twitter account. The right-hander wore No. 39 last year.

Gausman and Halladay are both from Colorado, and the Orioles pitcher said he followed Halladay's career closely and idolized him.

In a post next a photo of his new jersey, Gausman wrote: "Roy gave me the inspiration that I could fulfill even my biggest of dreams -- being a pitcher just like him."

Gausman concluded: "The loss of Roy is tragic and saddening, but I feel honored to have watched everything he achieved."

Halladay died on Nov. 7 when his small plane crashed into the Gulf of Mexico. He played 16 big league seasons, winning the Cy Young Award in each league and being named an All-Star eight times.

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Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

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USA TODAY Sports

Astros, Dodgers set Series HR record amid juiced ball buzz

HOUSTON (AP) -- Home runs kept flying over the wall at Minute Maid Park, on line drives up toward the train tracks, on fly balls that just dropped over the fence.

Seven more were hit in Game 5, raising the total to a World Series record 22 -- with two possible more games to play. Twenty-five runs were scored in a game started by the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw and the Astros' Dallas Keuchel, Cy Young Award winners regarded as among baseball's best.

After a season when sluggers outpaced even their steroid-era predecessors for home runs, some are convinced that something is amiss with the baseballs.

"The main complaint is that the balls seem a little bit different in the postseason, and even from the postseason to the World Series balls," Justin Verlander said Sunday, two days before he takes the mound in Game 6 and tries to pitch the Astros to their first title. "They're a little slick. You just deal with it. But I don't think it's the case of one pitcher saying, `Hey, something is different here.' I think as a whole, everybody is saying, `Whoa, something is a little off here.'"

A record eight home runs were hit in Game 2, including five in extra innings, and Game 5's seven long balls would have tied the old mark. The 13-12, 10-inning Astros' win Sunday night was the second-highest scoring game in Series history.

Keuchel was quoted as saying after Game 2: "Obviously, the balls are juiced."

Not so obvious to everyone, even amid the power surge.

"I haven't personally noticed anything. I haven't tried to think about it either," Dodgers reliever Brandon Morrow said after giving up two homers in Game 5. "It's not something you want to put in your own head."

Same for Kershaw, even after giving up his record eighth homer of the postseason Sunday.

"I don't really pay attention to it," Kershaw said. "I just assume that both sides are dealing with it, so I'm not going to worry about it."

This year's long ball assault topped the 21 of the 2002 Series. Anaheim hit seven and Barry Bonds and his San Francisco Giants slugged 14 over seven games. That was the year before survey drug testing.

Speculation that something has changed includes a study claiming to have found differences in the size and seam height of balls since the 2015 All-Star break.

"I know there was talk about different sizes and some of the baseballs were slightly bigger and some were smaller. Some of the seams were higher, some of the seams were lower. But, no, it's been consistent," said Rich Hill, who will start Game 6 for the Dodgers. "I think that just has to do with conditions -- if it's colder it's going to be slicker. If it's a little bit warmer out or humid, I think you're going to find that you're going to have a little bit more of moisture to the baseballs."

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred insists nothing nefarious is going on.

"I'm absolutely confident that the balls that we're using are within our established specifications," he said Friday.

Verlander rejected that assertion.

"I know Mr. Manfred said the balls haven't changed, but I think there's enough information out there to say that's not true," he said.

Verlander also does not think it's an issue of how balls are rubbed up before games.

"I know baseball uses the same mud for every single ball for every single game that's played," he said. "I think there's a broader issue that we're all missing."

On the day he become commissioner in January 2015, Manfred said, "I'm cognizant in the drop in offense over the last five years, and it's become a topic of conversation in the game, and it's something that we're going to have to continue to monitor and study."

Offense started rebounding during the second half of the season, and a record 6,105 home runs were hit this year, 2.4 percent more than the previous mark of 5,963 set in 2000 at the height of the Steroids Era.

"I think it's pretty clear," Verlander said. "I think our commissioner has said publicly that they wanted more offense in the game. I'm pretty sure I'm not fabricating a quote here when I say that. I think it was already All-Star break of `15, or right before, when he said that."

San Francisco's Johnny Cueto and Toronto's Marcus Stroman also think the balls have changed, with Stroman blaming slick balls for a rise in pitcher blisters -- an affliction which has struck Hill a few times in the past couple seasons, too.

Houston's Brent Strom and the Dodgers' Rick Honeycutt, the World Series pitching coaches, both were quoted by Sports Illustrated on Sunday as saying the slickness of the ball made throwing sliders difficult.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't see a ton difference, but I'm not going to get in a verbal war with coaches and players who think otherwise."

Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had a similar view but acknowledged the power records got his attention.

"The pitchers talk about it feels different in their hand. The one component is the slickness and guys at different ballparks rub it up differently," he said. "Sort of feels the same to me. But it's hard to argue the numbers. You know there's more velocity. Guys are swinging harder. I know in Los Angeles the air was light. It was hot. The ball was flying, carrying more than typically. But I hesitate to try to give you any insight because I really don't know."

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