Red Sox Blank Orioles Again, 2-0
If the Boston Red Sox had pitched anything close to this all season, things would have been much different.
The Red Sox closed out their 2015 home schedule by blanking the Baltimore Orioles for the third straight day, completing a three-game sweep with a 2-0 victory on Sunday afternoon.
Henry Owens gave up three hits in 7 2-3 innings and Blake Swihart hit a solo home run for the Red Sox, who finished their 104th season in fabled Fenway Park with a 43-38 record.
Boston enters the final week of the season last in the AL East, mainly due to its poor pitching at the start of the year.
Owens (4-3) gave up three singles, striking out five and walking one. He also went 7 2-3 scoreless against Baltimore in Camden Yards on Sept. 16.
"To say you're going to shut out the Baltimore Orioles for three straight games, I would have never believed it," Boston interim manager Torey Lovullo said. "Our pitchers deserve so much credit for that."
Robbie Ross Jr. worked the ninth for his sixth save.
Owens just followed the lead of his pitchers from the first two games.
"We are all competitive and good teammates," he said. "It fires you up."
On Saturday, first-time starter Craig Breslow and six relievers combined on a five-hitter after journeyman Rich Hill posted his first shutout in nine years, a two-hitter on Friday.
With Boston leading 1-0 in the second, Swihart led off with a homer into the Red Sox bullpen against Ubaldo Jimenez (12-10).
Jimenez gave up two runs on six hits in seven innings.
"It was a great day to pitch - (day) game at Fenway," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "It doesn't really matter to us the way we're swinging the bats."
Ten of Baltimore's 12 hits in the series were singles.
Jimenez said the pressure of the last three days has been tough for the Orioles, who entered the day with a longshot chance at the AL's second wild-card spot.
"They've been tough," he said. "We've been playing to hopefully get a spot in the playoffs."
The Orioles played their final road game of the year, finishing 34-50. It's their most losses since 51 in 2011.
Brock Holt's hustle led to Boston's first run. He raced from first to third on Xander Bogaerts' single to left-center and scored when Jimenez's pitch bounced in the dirt only a few feet away from home plate.
Orioles: CF Adam Jones was back in the lineup after missing six straight with back spasms.
Red Sox: RHP Clay Buchholz (strained right elbow) threw a bullpen session Sunday with Lovullo, club president Dave Dombrowski and vice president Frank Wren watching. Lovullo said it's "very doubtful" Buchholz will pitch again this season.
Boston's last time sweeping a three-game series with three shutouts was Sept. 19-21, 1958, in Fenway against the then-Washington Nationals.
NO BATS FOR ORIOLES
It was the first time in their history that the Orioles were shut out in three straight by the same team. Also, they hadn't been shut out in three consecutive games since July 29-31, 1957.
The Red Sox played a video tribute for TV play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo. He got a standing ovation from the fans and Boston's players and coaches in the dugout. He's being replaced after the season.
Orioles: RHP Chris Tillman (10-11) is set to face Toronto's Marco Estrada (13-8) Monday when Baltimore opens a season-ending, seven-game homestand. Tillman was tagged for six runs in three innings the last time he faced the Blue Jays, on Sept. 6.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (9-6) is scheduled to start against New York's Ivan Nova (6-9) at Yankee Stadium on Monday in the opener of a four-game series. Rodriguez has allowed three or fewer runs in his last six starts.