BALTIMORE—The Orioles don’t see many knuckleball pitchers.
There’s Toronto’s R.A. Dickey and Boston’s Steven Wright. After a Memorial Day game against Wright, the Orioles will want to forget that he exists.
After nine innings of flailing away at Wright, the Orioles are hoping they can just forget about him for now and move on to more conventional pitchers.
As the Orioles looked at this week’s four-game series with the Boston Red Sox, they knew it would be a duel for the top of the American League East, but a chance to miss the great David Price.
Price might have been preferable to nine innings of Wright.
Wright baffled the Orioles, pitching his third complete game of the season as the Red Sox pull away for a 7-2 win before 43,926 at Oriole Park on Monday.
The Orioles (28-21) now trail Boston (31-20) by two games.
Boston led 3-2 heading to the eighth inning, but four runs off Ashur Tolliver and Mychal Givens enabled the Red Sox to win going away.
The Orioles had just four hits off Wright (5-4), none after the fifth inning when they tied the score at 2.
Baltimore’s top five hitters, Adam Jones, Hyun Soo Kim, Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, were a combined 0-for-17 against Wright.
“It was a challenge. He had great stuff today. It never ended up where it started. You can’t really predict where to swing. You just hope that you get one that maybe doesn’t move quite as much. If you do, hey, hang with them,” Trumbo said.
The Orioles tied the game at 2 when Nolan Reimold tripled in the fifth. He scored on Ryan Flaherty’s double. After Caleb Joseph’s single, which snapped an 0-for-19 streak, Jones’ sacrifice fly scored Flaherty.
That was it for the offense. Wright did walk five and throw two wild pitch, and catcher Ryan Hanigan was charged with a passed ball.
“How do you prepare for it? It’s different. You hope they don’t have a real good one,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Showalter didn’t have a great day because he knew a call that cost the Orioles a first inning run was wrong, and nothing could be done about it.
Mookie Betts led off with a single off Tyler Wilson. He moved to second on an infield out by Dustin Pedroia. Xander Bogaerts’ tapper was to the left of home plate. Joseph threw to first, and Betts rounded third and easily scored.
Showalter came out to argue that the ball was fouled off Bogaerts’ left foot, but none of the umpires saw it, and the call is not one that’s subject to review by replay.
“I was hoping the first base ump would see it, but it's hard. We can't see it from the dugout and we're closer than the first base umpire for sure. Usually the hitter gives you a reaction that shows you what's going on but he didn't. He smelled a hit and took off. Made good use of the play. We were able to overturn a couple other mistakes but we couldn't overturn that one,” Showalter said.
Wilson, who allowed three runs on eight hits in 6 2/3 innings, didn’t use the play as an excuse.
“I saw a great play by Caleb. I thought he got out of there quick, and made an outstanding play to get him at first. He’s a good runner too, and I was a little frustrated with not getting to home plate, though it’s one of those things that you can’t really practice,” Wilson said.
“It just looks a little different and they don’t score there, it’s 2-2 in the seventh rather than 3-2.”
Boston took a 2-0 lead in the third when Betts singled with one out, and after Dustin Pedroia’s single, Bogaerts’ double drove in Betts.
Jackie Bradley, Jr., led off the sixth with his ninth home run of the season, and Boston led 3-2.
Wilson (2-4) walked Bogaerts with two outs in the seventh, and Tolliver came in to face David Ortiz. Bogaerts tried to steal second, and was initially called safe, a ruling that was overturned by replay.
When Tolliver faced Ortiz to start the eighth, he hit a home run to right field, his 14th, and the Red Sox had a 4-2 lead.
Travis Shaw walked with one out, Blake Swihart singled, and Mychal Givens replaced Tolliver.
Rookie Marco Hernandez hit his first major league home run with two outs, a three-run shot, and Boston had a five-run lead.
NOTES: The Orioles have three triples this season, the fewest in baseball. … Bogaerts has a 23-game hitting streak. … The Orioles made two successful replay challenges, and they’re 6-for-12 this season. … Eduardo Rodriguez, making his season debut, faces Kevin Gausman (0-2, 3.24) on Tuesday night. … Joseph injured his groin in the eighth inning and was going to the hospital for an examination.