BALTIMORE (AP) — Long after the game ended, Adam Jones still couldn’t figure out why the Baltimore Orioles couldn’t score a single run against Andrew Miller.
Miller and three relievers combined on a two-hitter, Jacoby Ellsbury homered twice, and the Red Sox defeated Baltimore 4-0 Wednesday.
Miller (4-1) issued a career-high six walks in a performance Orioles manager Buck Showalter termed “wildly effective.” The left-hander had only one perfect inning, but Baltimore never got a hit when it mattered.
Asked if Miller was tough to figure out, Jones replied: “No.No. Not at all. We should have put up so many runs. He shouldn’t have been out there as long as he was. That’s my opinion. Sometimes he got it over. He got it over when he needed to,” said Jones, who walked twice. “He made the pitches he needed to, accordingly, but we should have hit (him).”
The game turned when Craig Tatum hit into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play after Miller walked the bases loaded in the second.
“It was a big momentum shift,” Tatum said. “I hit the ball hard, just dumb hitting. But he was all over the place, and then I came up there and he threw me some good pitches.”
Ellsbury promptly led off the third with a homer off Jake Arrieta (9-7), giving Boston all the offense it needed to win the pivotal matchup in the three-game series.
Miller took a no-hitter into the fifth. Facing Tatum with one out, he threw a pitch that floated three feet wide of the plate and rolled to the backstop. Two pitches later, Tatum grounded a single up the middle.
In the sixth, Derrek Lee singled with two outs and Mark Reynolds walked to chase Miller. Former Oriole Matt Albers came in and maintained Boston’s two-run lead by getting Nolan Reimold to hit into a force play.
Albers also worked a perfect seventh, Daniel Bard had a 1-2-3 eighth — his club-record 21st consecutive scoreless outing — and Jonathan Papelbon got the final three outs.
“Albers came in and did a really good job. He’s been doing a good job all year,” Jones said. “Bard came in, then Papelbon. But we should have had runs off the starter. We put ourselves in the right situation. That’s all you can ask for. Getting a hit isn’t easy, but putting ourselves in the situation is a start.”
The Orioles wasted a fine outing by Arrieta, who allowed three runs and nine hits in seven innings, matching his longest outing of the season. His most glaring mistakes came against Ellsbury, who homered twice against the right-hander.
“Jake just made a couple of location mistakes, and because of the number of runs that we weren’t scoring today, it got magnified,” Showalter said. “Usually on a given night, Jake’s outing is good enough for a `W.”‘
Adrian Gonzalez had four hits for the Red Sox and Josh Reddick went 2 for 3 to up his career batting average against Baltimore to .400. But the main culprit was Ellsbury, who extended his hitting streak against Baltimore to 29 games.
“We shouldn’t feel like he’s picking on us,” Showalter said. “He’s having a great year, and he seems to be even better against us. You could ask the same question about Reddick and Gonzalez.”
Fortunately for Baltimore, the two AL East teams don’t meet again until Sept. 19 in Boston.
After Ellsbury connected in the third, Boston made it 2-0 in the fourth when Reddick singled, took third on a double by Carl Crawford and scored on a groundout by Jason Varitek.
Ellsbury’s second homer made it 3-0 in the seventh, and the game’s final run came in the eighth when Mark Hendrickson walked Crawford with the bases loaded.
Boston’s Dustin Pedroia beat out a slow roller to third base in the fifth inning to extend his hitting streak to 18 games, a career high. He has reached base in 30 straight games, also a career high.
Pedroia’s lone hit Tuesday night came in identical fashion.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)