The American League East is turning into a runaway.
The Orioles defeated the Red Sox 4-0 at Fenway Park this evening to extend their division lead to 10 games over the Yankees and Blue Jays. They also trimmed their magic number to 11.
Miguel Gonzalez tossed 6 1/3 scoreless innings in the victory while allowing six hits and three walks. He was pulled after loading the bases with three straight singles in the seventh, but Tommy Hunter wiggled out of the jam by getting Will Middlebrooks and David Ross to strike out swinging. Gonzalez has allowed just four runs in 34 2/3 innings over his last five starts and now sits at 9-7 with a 3.22 ERA on the year.
Nelson Cruz and Steve Pearce each had two hits for the Orioles, though three errors from Boston helped give Baltimore’s bullpen some extra breathing room.
Per Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com, this is the largest division lead for the Orioles since way back on September 22, 1979. They currently have the biggest lead of any of the six division leaders.
The postseason has a knack for finding unlikely heroes. Nationals catcher Kurt Suzuki was 1-for-23 in the postseason entering Wednesday’s Game 2 of the World Series. The Nats and Astros each plated two runs in the first inning, then went otherwise scoreless through the sixth inning. In the top of the seventh, with Justin Verlander returning to the mound, Suzuki demolished a high, 1-0 fastball just below the train tracks in left field at Minute Maid Park, breaking the 2-2 tie.
Verlander proceeded to walk Victor Robles, prompting manager A.J. Hinch to take his veteran starter out of the game. Ryan Pressly came in to attempt to keep it a one-run game.
The underdog Nationals held on to defeat the Astros 5-4 in Game 1. Another victory by the Nats in Game 2 would put the Astros — heavy favorites according to oddsmakers — in a big hole.
Update: Pressly walked the first batter he faced, Trea Turner. Adam Eaton successfully sacrifice bunted both runners over. After Anthony Rendon flied out to shallow center field, Hinch decided to issue his team’s first intentional walk of the entire year to Juan Soto, loading the bases. Howie Kendrick then hit what appeared to be an inning-ending ground out, but Alex Bregman booted the ball as he moved to his left. Turner scored to make it 4-2. The floodgates opened when Asdrúbal Cabrera lined a single to center field, bringing home two more runs to pad the lead to 6-2. While pitching to Ryan Zimmerman, Pressly uncorked a wild pitch to allow the two base runners to advance. Zimmerman followed up with a slow roller down the third base line which Bregman barehanded and proceeded to throw away. Two more runs scored. 8-2. Yiiiikes, Astros.