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No Jones? No problem. Lough's three-run homer leads O's to win

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No Jones? No problem. Lough's three-run homer leads O's to win

BOSTON – David Lough doesn’t get many opportunities to play center field. He is making the most of the few he gets. In two seasons with the Orioles, he’s started there 18 times.

That’s because Adam Jones usually plays there, but for the past seven games, the four-time All-Star has been ailing with a sore right shoulder.

On Tuesday night, Lough had the key hit for the Orioles, a three-run home run in the second inning that led the way in a 6-4 win over the Boston Red Sox before 36,508 mostly displeased fans at Fenway Park.

In between chanting “Free Tom Brady” and booing first baseman Mike Napoli, who struck out all four times he batted, the fans watched Lough hit his fourth home run of the season.

He’s no Adam Jones, Lough freely admits.

“I don’t get many of them, not as many as he gets, but it was good to get that on the board tonight and put up those three runs for us,” Lough said. “We’re just trying to get him healthy and back on the field.”

Jones, who is unlikely to play before Friday, led the cheers for Lough.

“I see @DLOrioles trying to Wally Pipp me. Keep swinging it,” Jones tweeted after the game.

There’s no chance that Lough will displace the four-time All-Star, but his hit followed Ryan Flaherty’s sacrifice fly off Joe Kelly (2-5), and gave the Orioles (37-33) an early 4-0 lead.

The Orioles are four games over 500 for the first time this season, and have won 14 of 18. They’re currently in third place in the AL East, 2 ½ games in back of Tampa Bay.

Besides Lough, the Orioles were happy for Ubaldo Jimenez, who won his third straight start for the first time with Baltimore, and recorded his first win at Fenway.

“I’ve been looking for that win since 2007, the World Series. I pitched the second game over here. It’s been difficult, but finally I got it. It’s one of those things, you go, ‘Wow, I don’t know why, but it doesn’t seem like I’m going to win.’ We were able to do it. It was a good team win, the guys really helped me out and I’m happy that I got that W,” Jimenez said.

In his previous four starts here, Jimenez hadn’t won, and had a 7.41 ERA. The last time Jimenez pitched here, on Apr. 17, he was ejected for throwing at Pablo Sandoval.

“At some point, the good ones kind of turn that around,” manager Buck Showalter said. “At one time, this guy was as good a pitcher as there was in the game, so his pedigree is pretty deep.”

After the Orioles took a 4-0 lead, they had a chance to add on in the third, but didn’t. Chris Parmelee, who tripled in the first inning, doubled to lead off. He moved to third on Matt Wieters’ infield out. Chris Davis walked, and with Travis Snider batting, the Orioles tried a double steal.

Sandy Leon threw to short when Davis took off, and Xander Bogaerts’ throw home was in time to get Parmelee. Snider walked, but was quickly picked off by Kelly.

“We made two or three baserunning mistakes we don’t normally make. We’ve got to get that corrected. It kind of took some air out of our sails,” Showalter said.

Leon led off the bottom of the third with a single. Mookie Betts doubled Leon to third, and he scored on Brock Holt’s infield out.

J.J. Hardy singled to lead off the fourth. After Flaherty struck out, Lough hit into a fielder’s choice. Manny Machado singled, and Robbie Ross relieved Kelly. Jimmy Paredes’ single scored Lough.

Kelly (2-5) allowed five runs on eight hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Hanley Ramirez singled to start the fourth and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With one out, Sandoval scored him on a single, and the Orioles lead was 5-2.

Jimenez (6-3) got the first two outs of the fifth against Boston (31-41). Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz walked, and Pedroia scored on Ramirez’s single.

Machado’s sixth inning double scored Flaherty for a 6-3 lead.

In five innings, Jimenez allowed three runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out eight.

Brad Brach, Chaz Roe, Darren O’Day each pitched a shutout inning. Zach Britton picked up his 20th save, but allowed an RBI double by Pedroia with two outs in the ninth.

NOTES: Showalter’s win was the 1,296th of his managerial career, passing Cap Anson for 32nd place on the manager’s win list. Boston manager John Farrell was ejected in the sixth inning by home plate umpire Tim Timmons. … Machado has five consecutive multi-hit games. … Bud Norris (2-5, 7.57) faces Clay Buchholz (4-6, 3.87) on Wednesday night.

[MORE ORIOLES: Showalter not committing to date on Schoop's return]

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

Buck Showalter has been fired as manager of the Orioles, who made three playoff appearances under his guidance but this year staggered through the worst season since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Showalter confirmed the dismissal Wednesday in a text message to The Associated Press.

A three-time AL Manager of the Year, Showalter ranks second on the Orioles' career list with 669 victories, trailing Earl Weaver. He took over in August 2010 and orchestrated the resurgence of a team that suffered through 14 straight losing seasons.

Once hailed for making baseball in Baltimore relevant again, the 62-year-old Showalter is out of a job after a season in which the Orioles finished 47-115, 61 games behind Boston in the AL East. His contract expired at the end of October, and the Orioles opted against a renewal as they continue a major rebuild that began in late July, when they traded stars Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman for minor league prospects.

Those deals were made by Dan Duquette, the executive vice president of baseball operations, whose future with the organization is up in the air.

Showalter earned AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014 after taking the Orioles to the AL East title and a berth in the Championship Series. He was also named Manager of Year with the Yankees in 1994 and Texas in 2004. His career record is 1,551-1,517, including 669-684 with Baltimore.

"I just think ever since he came here, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said before the final game of the season. "It's the end of an era. A great manager, a great tenure. I don't know if he's going to coach or manage again, but he's got grandchildren. Go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course."

With his future in doubt, Showalter appeared undaunted during the final series of the regular season.

"You know how good they've been to me? I'm not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens," he said.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was asked before his team's playoff game against the Yankees on Wednesday night whether Showalter was victimized by the trend toward analytics.

"I don't think Buck was a guy that ignored analytics," Melvin said. "I think it was probably a combination of how they did this year and maybe some relationships."

After the Orioles brought Showalter out of retirement, he offered renewed hope by fashioning a 34-23 finish in 2010 for a team that was 32-73 upon his arrival.

Baltimore ended a 14-year playoff drought in 2012, advancing to the AL Division Series following a victory over Texas in the wild-card game. Playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016 followed.

Last year, however, the Orioles fell to 75-87 after losing 19 of their final 23 games. Baltimore hoped the addition of starters Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner would enable the team to be a contender this year, but a horrid start quickly dispelled that notion.

The Orioles' deficit in the AL East reached double digits by April 18 and they were 8-27 on May 8. By the end of July, Baltimore fully entered rebuilding mode, leaving Showalter with the dubious distinction of overseeing a team that finished with the poorest record in the majors and one that surpassed the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most losses in franchise history.

Showalter never offered an excuse. He just grinded forward, working to prepare the team for 2019 even though he knew he might not be around to follow through.

At the outset of a season-ending series against Houston, Showalter was asked if he was thinking these might be his final days in the Baltimore dugout.

"We all have some private thoughts and emotions about that, but I don't think it serves the organization well for me to be worried about that right now," he said. "We've got some things to do these last four games that need to get done."

Showalter has a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but his players appreciated his baseball knowledge and skill at handling a team. He made a point of talking to each of them on a regular basis, almost always offering encouragement.

"He gave me a chance," said catcher Caleb Joseph, who played six-plus years in the minors before arriving in Baltimore. "He believed in me in 2014, ran me out there and gave me a chance to be part of a championship team. He's really vouched for me ever since. I owe a lot to Buck and his loyalty. He's been a main figure here for a long time."

Sensing the end was near for the only big league manager he had ever played for, first baseman Trey Mancini said: "It's been an absolute honor to play for Buck. He's been incredible."

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

The Boston Red Sox broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory on Monday night, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason by beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.

Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Orioles batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and mostly likely Oakland.

The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.

The Orioles (45-111) became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60 games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It's the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.

Boston scored four in the second inning, getting back-to-back doubles from Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, an RBI single from Christian Vazquez and Betts' two-run homer over the Green Monster. It was the 32nd homer of the season for Betts, a new career high.

Betts also singled and scored in Boston's two-run fourth, moving him into the major-league lead with 125 runs scored. In his last three games, he is 10 for 16 with three homers and four doubles, and he leads teammate J.D. Martinez (.328) in the AL batting race.

Renato Nunez had three hits for the Orioles, who fell to 2-15 against Boston and 18-61 on the road this season.

FOR STARTERS

Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.

Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Yefrey Ramirez is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give him an extra day or two. "I think Yefrey will pitch again, I just don't know when," Showalter said.

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after feeling soreness in his left shoulder during a swing and leaving Sunday night's game. ... INF Eduardo Nunez ran on Sunday to test his hamstring and was scheduled to run again on Monday with the goal of having him back in the lineup by Wednesday or Friday.

UP NEXT

LHP David Price (15-7) tries to bounce back from a rough start in Yankee Stadium in the second game of the series in what could be his last start of the regular season.