Oh yes, the smell of October baseball is in the air. The Red Sox showed up to Camden Yards and left on top. The Sox went to Baltimore knowing they couldn’t afford any more losses to the Orioles, especially like the 1-0 heartbreak back on the 14th at Fenway. Knowing that they went on to play their best baseball.
Game 1. A nice cake walk win, largely in due part to Rick Porcello being on the mound baffling Baltimore bats all night long. He was phenomenal, going the distance allowing only 2 earned runs, and had 7 strikeouts. This gave Rick his league leading 21st win of the season. He also leads the AL in WHIP with .98 and is second in ERA with 3.08. The offense was mainly provided by Ortiz hitting his 35th home run of the season, and Mookie betts hitting his 31st. Betts’ homerun was his 8th of the season at Camden Yards, tying him with the great Jimmy Foxx with most home runs at an opponents ball park in one season by a Red Sox player. What makes that even more amazing? He’s also tied with Babe Ruth, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Schmidt for most in a still existing Ball Park in a single season.
Game 2. Eduardo Rodriguez was on the mound, and he was brilliant. E-Rod went 6.1 innings allowing only 2 runs and had 7 strikeouts, several of them coming at crucial moments to end threats. The Sox supported Rodriguez by going deep again, with Jackie Bradley hitting his 26th of the season in the 4th and then David Ortiz broking the game open in the 8th with a 3-run shot for his 36th of the season. The bullpen was amazing again going 2.2 with no hits allowed, and Craig Kimbrel struck out the first batter he faced to give him 7 straight over 3 appearences,that streak ended the very next batter, but he still notched his 28th save of the year.
Game 3. Clay Buchholz had another great outting in the most crucial part of the season. He went 7 innings, giving up only a single run, but he still needed some help from the baseball gods for the win. Ubaldo Jimenez was Rockie like all night, but then he was replaced by Brad Brach after allowing 2 baserunners in the 6th. The Sox Down 1-0 had Sandy Leon step up to the plate with the bases loaded and 2 outs. Leon went on to hit a routine ground ball to 1st baseman Chris Davis’ right, he then rushed the throw, missing the glove of pitcher Brad Brach who was running to cover 1st. The error allowed both Ortiz and Betts to score the tying and go ahead runs respectively. Andrew Benintendi went on to silence the Baltimore fans, who were still baffled at what just happen, with a 3-run blast to right field. The bullpen once again held the lead allowing just one hit.
Game 4. Boston took the lead early with a Hanley Ramirez single that scored Mookie Betts, which was Mookie’s 116th run of the season. Orioles starter Chris Tillman was chased in the 2nd with only 1.2 innings of work. After a Sandy Leon single scored Jackie Bradley Jr, Tillman went on to walk David Ortiz later in the inning allowing Leon to go on and score. The lead was short lived however when David Price gave up a three run homer to Trey Mancini in the 3rd. David Price learned from his mistake though and went on to pitch a very solid game. The Sox got the lead back for Price in the 5th, when Benintendi hit a single to right field to score Travis Shaw, Hanley extended the lead with a solo homerun in the 7th. Koji and Kimbrel went on to close things out pitching the 8th and 9th respectively, getting 2 strikeouts apiece, and with Kimbrel getting the save that gives him 29 in 31 chances. This win also gives Price his 8th straight win and his 17th of the season. He has just been getting progressively better these last weeks, let’s hope he brings that along with him to the postseason.
With this 4 game sweep of The Orioles at Camden Yards, which was the first time thats happen since 2002, the Sox not only have an 8 game win streak, they now have a comfortable 5.5 game lead in the division over the Blue Jays. Also just as they did to the Yankees, the Orioles are now knocked out of any AL East title chances, and are now just hoping to make the playoffs, seeing how they are behind the Detroit Tigers for the 2nd wild card position. This was also Big Papi’s final series at Camden Yards, and what better way then to continue his amazing season with 2 last home runs in Baltimore. Sox are in Tampa Bay next for a 3 game series that should help bring that magic number down from 5.