BALTIMORE (AP) — Seems the best-hitting team in the big leagues can win with pitching and defense, too.
Brock Holt and Jackie Bradley Jr. each delivered a sacrifice fly in the 12th inning, and the Boston Red Sox limited the Baltimore Orioles to five hits in a 2-0 victory Monday night.
Though the Red Sox lead the majors in runs and batting average, they managed only four hits through 11 scoreless innings in this one.
“Sometimes we’re going to go through stuff like this, throughout the season,” manager Alex Cora said. “But the pitching did outstanding, we played great defense and we ended up winning.”
Steven Wright and five relievers combined for Boston’s fifth shutout of the year.
The Red Sox have scored only 10 runs in their last five games, but perceive that to be nothing more than a mini-slump.
“We’re getting guys on, we’re just not getting that hit with guys in scoring position,” Holt said. “That’ll turn.”
Xander Bogaerts led off the 12th with a single against Mychal Givens (0-3), and the Red Sox loaded the bases before Holt broke the scoreless deadlock with a fly to center. Bradley followed with a fly ball to score Rafael Devers, who had doubled.
Heath Hembree (3-1) struck out the side in the 11th and Craig Kimbrel got three outs for his 21st save.
“It was a very well-pitched game by everybody that was on the mound today, from the starter all the way through Craig,” said Brandon Workman, who contributed 1 1/3 innings of one-hit relief. “Everybody threw the ball well. Put up 12 zeros. That’s hard to do at any level of baseball.”
It was the fifth straight loss for the Orioles, who have been shut out seven times this season. Baltimore left 13 on base and went 0 for 8 with runners in scoring position.
“We had plenty of opportunities,” manager Buck Showalter said. “We just couldn’t get that hit that’s been eluding us for it seems like quite a while.”
Orioles starter Dylan Bundy gave up three hits over eight innings. He struck out seven, walked two and did not permit a runner to reach third base.
It was his fourth scoreless outing of the season, the second in a row. Last week, the right-hander blanked the Mets on three hits in seven innings.
Wright was going up against an offense that ranked last in the AL in runs and was missing ailing slugger Manny Machado. The knuckleballer allowed four hits over 6 2/3 innings. In the seventh, after Baltimore used two walks and an infield hit to load the bases with two outs, Joe Kelly entered and struck out Adam Jones with a 97 mph fastball.
Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts was reinstated from the disabled list before the game and went 1 for 5 in the leadoff spot. Betts, who came in with a major league-leading .359 batting average, missed 14 games with an abdominal strain.
Red Sox: 2B Dustin Pedroia (knee), limited to 13 plate appearances this season, worked out in the Camden Yards training room but has not yet resumed baseball activities. Cora offered no timetable for the return of the four-time All-Star. … LHP Drew Pomeranz (biceps) threw Sunday, but woke up with a stiff neck Monday that could perhaps delay his return from the DL. … RHP Tyler Thornburg (shoulder) “felt great” after pitching one scoreless inning for Triple-A Pawtucket on Sunday, Cora said. Thornburg will next pitch for Pawtucket on Thursday.
Orioles: All-Star closer Zach Britton was activated from the disabled list, six months after undergoing surgery on his torn right Achilles tendon. … Machado sat out with an illness that has been making its way around the Baltimore clubhouse. “I could tell he was starting to get it yesterday,” said Showalter, who has been battling the same malady. … With the return of Britton, Baltimore placed RHP Pedro Araujo on the 10-day disabled list with a right elbow sprain and transferred OF Colby Rasmus to the 60-day DL.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (7-1, 3.68 ERA) started his professional career in the Orioles organization, and now he’s won a career-high four straight starts heading into Tuesday night’s game against his former team.
Orioles: RHP Andrew Cashner (2-8, 4.98 ERA) attempts to break a run of three successive losses. Baltimore scored only one run in each of those games.