BOSTON (AP) — Outfielder Adam Jones knows the Orioles will need more than a four-game winning streak to get back to the playoffs.
“We can start that right now,” he said after Baltimore beat the AL East-leading Red Sox 2-1 on Sunday to complete a three-game sweep. “Let’s put our heads down and get at it.”
Jones and Trey Mancini hit back-to-back RBI doubles against Doug Fister in the first inning, and the Orioles held on despite allowing 16 baserunners.
It was the fourth straight loss for Boston, matching its longest losing streak of the season. The Red Sox lead over the New York Yankees was cut to 2 1/2 games — the closest the division race has been since Aug. 3.
The Orioles are eight games back in the division but two games out of a wild-card spot. The AL has eight teams within 3.5 games fighting for two wild-card spots; the Orioles are fifth, a half-game behind Seattle.
“As long as you’re not mathematically eliminated, you’ve got a chance,” Jones said as Baltimore heads into a three-game series against the Mariners. “You want to play teams that are just as hungry as you, that are fighting for something, like you.”
One outing after his shocking one-hitter, in which he gave up a leadoff homer and held the Indians hitless the rest of the way, Fister (3-7) again struggled in the first inning before settling down. But this time the Red Sox couldn’t erase the early deficit, stranding 13 and batting 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.
“More than anything, a day of frustration,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said. “We did a very good job of creating opportunities, when you consider the number of base on balls and the number of base hits. But they scattered them.”
Wade Miley (8-10) allowed one run on seven hits and three walks, striking out three in five innings. It’s the sixth straight start in which Miley allowed three runs or fewer, but he’s only made it past the fifth inning twice.
Brad Brach got the last five outs for his 17th save as the Orioles won their fourth in a row.
Fister gave up two runs on three hits in the first, including a leadoff single to Tim Beckham and then, with two outs, two straight run-scoring doubles.
Then he held the Orioles to two more hits before leaving with a 2-1 deficit. He walked two and struck out seven and also had a balk when he went into his motion but failed to deliver the pitch in the first inning.
“I kind of gave ourselves a little bit of a hole to dig into,” he said. “I caught my cleat and just held onto it. I made a couple of bad pitches in the first inning and they made me pay for it.”
Christian Vazquez caught the ceremonial first pitch from Erica Schultz, the mother of a 5-year-old transplant patient who died last month. Vazquez and shortstop Xander Bogaerts visited Ari Schultz at his home about a week before he died. They played Wiffle ball with him and invited him to throw out the first pitch Sunday.
Public address announcer Dick Flavin became choked up when he thanked Erica for the pitch. On Saturday, both players wore T-shirts during batting practice with his picture on the front and “Ari we miss you” on the back.
Chris Young was hitless in three at-bats, stranding seven. … The Red Sox had a runner on base in every inning but the ninth and a runner in scoring position in every inning but the fifth and ninth. … Manny Machado was called out in the third inning when he was hit by a pitch while swinging.
Red Sox: 1B Hanley Ramirez remained in the game despite taking a bouncing ball off the midsection. … OF Jackie Bradley Jr., who was placed on the disabled list on Wednesday with a sprained left thumb, will hit off tee and throw the ball in the outfield. “The last 48 hours for him have been major improvements,” manager John Farrell said.
Orioles: Open three-game series against Seattle at home. Chris Tillman (1-7) faces Marco Gonzales (0-1).
Red Sox: Visit Toronto for start of three-game series. Drew Pomeranz (13-4) will start against the Blue Jays.
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