BOSTON (AP) — Winning the series wasn’t enough for Adam Jones.
He obviously wanted the sweep.
“Who cares about this getting two out of three? At this point in time, winning the series means nothing. We need wins,” Jones said following the Baltimore Orioles’ 3-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Thursday night. “`Good job getting the series’ if this was June, but it’s September. We need wins.”
Baltimore beat first-place Boston in the first two games of the series, running its winning streak to three and bolstering its chances of earning one of the two available wild-card spots.
Then the Orioles ran into John Lackey.
The right-hander silenced Baltimore’s bats, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning before finishing off his 16th complete game as the Red Sox clinched their first postseason berth since 2009.
“This team, we’re always a bloop and a blast away. We just didn’t get the bloop and a blast. Move onto Tampa,” said Jones, who broke up the no-hit bid with his 32nd home run of the season with one out in the seventh. “We’ve got four games down there that are important. It’s a loss. Move on.”
The Orioles dropped two games back in the wild-card race after Texas beat Tampa Bay. The Rangers and Rays are tied for the top two spots.
“Our guys are looking forward to the opportunity that they have earned,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said of the stretch run, which includes a four-game series at Tampa Bay starting Friday.
Chris Tillman (16-7) overcame a shaky start to pitch seven innings for the Orioles. The right-hander, who entered the game with a 2.15 ERA against Boston, the lowest among active pitchers with at least 50 innings, allowed three runs, seven hits and two walks with eight strikeouts.
“That’s the way these games go at the end of the season,” Tillman said. “I think you’ve got to be on top of it from the get-go all the way through. I made some mistakes and they made me pay.”
Coming off a last-place finish and a 69-93 record — their most losses since 1965 — the Red Sox have rebounded under first-year manager John Farrell and ensured at least a wild-card berth in the postseason. Following Tampa Bay’s loss, Boston’s magic number dropped to one for clinching the AL East.
The Red Sox scored all their runs in the second on Stephen Drew’s two-run homer and Dustin Pedroia’s RBI single.
After Jones’ homer, Lackey (10-12) allowed just a one-out single to J.J. Hardy in the eighth. He struck out eight and walked two.
“The story was Lackey,” Showalter said. “It’s one of those tip-your-hat nights.”
NOTES: Pedroia extended his hitting streak to nine games. … Baltimore’s Jason Hammel (7-8) will face Tampa Bay’s David Price (8-8) on Friday. … The Red Sox send Jon Lester (14-8) to the mound against Esmil Rogers (5-7) in the opener of their last home series of the regular season, three games against Toronto.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)