BOSTON—Rick Porcello is a leading candidate for the American League Cy Young Award. In the future, Kevin Gausman may be.
On Wednesday night, Gausman outpitched Porcello as the Orioles took the second of three games at Fenway Park, cutting Boston’s lead in the American League East to one game.
Porcello allowed just one run on Mark Trumbo’s 42nd home run and four hits in eight innings, but that run stood up in the Orioles 1-0 win over the Red Sox before 37,973.
The Orioles (80-65) concluded their most successful road trip with six wins in nine games—winning two of three in Tampa Bay, Detroit and Boston. They trail the Red Sox (81-64) by one, and will play them four more times in Baltimore beginning Monday.
In the wild card race, the Orioles lead Toronto by a game.
“The guys have earned the right to play these types of games. It’s a very quiet confidence. They’re not guys who toot their own horn. They kind of like when people sell them short. And now we’re going back to a place, our city, that gets them and gets what they’re doing for the last four years. It’s been a tough, challenging trip,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Gausman, who has now won five straight decisions and hasn’t lost since Aug. 13, gave up four hits in eight shutout innings. He struck out six and walked one, throwing a career-high 120 pitches.
“Once we scored one, in the back of my mind I kept telling myself, that’s all we needed. So I just tried to attack these guys,” Gausman said.
He didn’t allow a hit until Mookie Betts’ single in the fourth. Travis Shaw singled in the fifth.
Gausman (8-10) walked Hanley Ramirez leading off the second, but Shaw quickly hit into a double play. The only other baserunner in the first six innings was David Ortiz who reached when Matt Wieters dropped a pop foul in the wind in front of home plate in the first.
Hanley Ramirez beat out an infield single with one out in the seventh, and after Gausman struck out Shaw, Chris Young lined a ball to center for a single. Gausman struck out Sandy Leon to end the inning.
In the eighth, Xander Bogaerts pop was caught in foul ground by Jonathan Schoop who was run into by Chris Davis, but Schoop held onto the ball, ensuring Gausman would get through eight innings.
“Every year I’ve always gotten better as the year has gone on but this year it’s kind of all clicking for me. I think I’m reading hitters swings a little bit more and I think my rhythm is a lot better too. I think sometimes I’ll get in the mood of shaking off too many pitches and right now I’m kind of locked in and getting the ball going,” Gausman said.
Zach Britton quickly retired Ortiz on a grounder to first, Betts on a fly to left and struck out Ramirez for his 43rd consecutive save.
“To think you can make one run stand up in this ballpark against as good an offensive team they are is a real tribute to how well Kevin and Zach pitched. That’s a tough part of the lineup,” Showalter said.
Porcello (20-4) hadn’t lost at Fenway Park this season, and he’s now 13-1. Trumbo’s major league leading 42nd home run, which came shortly before Minnesota’s Brian Dozier, who’s been on a tear, hit his 41st, was the Orioles’ first run in the second inning.
“I got him pretty early in the game. You can’t really foresee what’s going to happen later on, but obviously pretty fortunate to get something on the board early. Not a ton of breathing room for Kevin, but maybe just enough,” Trumbo said.
Gausman was thrilled to have Trumbo’s homer against Porcello.
“He’s a Cy Young candidate right now so I knew he was going to pitch well so for Trumbo to come up big there was huge. Without him, who knows how the game goes?” Gausman said.
J.J. Hardy lined a ball off Porcello’s leg with two outs in the second, and after that, he retired 17 straight batters until Hardy singled with one out in the eighth.
The Orioles go home for their longest and final homestand of 2016, an 11-game one. They play four games with Tampa Bay beginning Thursday.
“It’s an outstanding road trip, no matter where you are in the season or in the standings. It’s fairly well accepted that you try and split on the road if you can. With three-game series, that’s not going to be the case. To win two out of three in each city is tremendous, and it’s exactly what you need at this point in the year,” Trumbo said.