The Boston Red Sox are playing their best baseball at the right time and it all starts with the starting pitching.
Especially the top of the rotation.
David Price, who won his seventh straight start in Monday night’s 12-2 blowout of the Baltimore Orioles, hasn’t lost since Aug. 7 — while 20-game winner Rick Porcello is 6-0 since Aug. 3.
That’s 13-0 from the pair since Aug. 7.
“He’s on a run right now that might be the best run of his career, inside not only these seven consecutive wins he’s recorded, but the second half of the season he continues to increase his power,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said after Price pitched eight innings and allowed only solo homers to Chris Davis and Manny Machado as first-place Boston opened a crucial seven-game homestand by blowing out the contending Orioles.
“He’s pitching with such conviction right now and it shows in his body language and the way he’s finished hitters off,” Farrell said of Price, now 16-8 after signing a $217 million contract as a free agent during the offseason.
Price, who struck out nine and didn’t walk anyone, hasn’t lost once since July 17. He has the longest winning streak of his career and has run up a 2.16 ERA over that span. He has thrown eight innings or more 10 times this season, the most by a Red Sox pitcher since Pedro Martinez had 11 in 2002.
“A guy like David is pitching as well as anybody in baseball is right now,” said Baltimore manager Buck Showalter. “That’s why he can command those type of commitments they made to him. That’s a great example of how important those guys are.”
Said Price: “We all have that feeling in the clubhouse, out in the dugout. That’s what you want to be a part of. It’s not work; this is all fun.”
The Red Sox scored five runs in the first inning and scored in every frame but the eighth in backing Price. Chris Young had a homer, two doubles and a single and David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez (three RBIs) also homered to power the rout.
The win, the eighth in the last 11 games, kept Boston two games ahead of the victorious Toronto Blue Jays atop the division.
The Orioles, who came in tied with Toronto for both second place and the top AL wild-card spot, fell three games off the division lead.
The Red Sox chased former teammate Wade Miley (8-13, 1-5 with Baltimore) in an inning and a third (six runs). In eight starts with the Orioles, Miley, the victim of some shoddy defense in the first, has allowed 32 earned runs on 53 hits in 35 1/3 innings — Monday marking his second outing of under two innings. In the first inning of his 27 overall starts with Seattle and Baltimore this season, he has allowed 24 earned runs — an 8.00 ERA.
Ramirez (three RBIs) hit his 24th homer, 10th in his last 27 games, in the fourth, Young smacked his ninth in the fifth and Ortiz his 33rd (536 lifetime, tying Mickey Mantle for 17th place all-time) in the sixth. The Red Sox have tallied 38 runs in their last four games, a span that includes a 3-2 loss in Toronto.
Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts both singled in the first two innings, Mookie Betts had a two-run double in the first and Ortiz and Sandy Leon both also had two hits in a 16-hit attack.
Pedroia’s two hits in the first two innings made him 22 for his last 31 at Fenway Park.
“They’re a really good offensive club — like we are — and they’re going to make you pay for those mistakes,” said Showalter.
The Orioles tied a season low with the two hits — the other two-hit game started by Miley when he was with Seattle May 17.
Red Sox rookie Yoan Moncada, making his Fenway Park debut as a pinch hitter, struck out for the ninth straight time — one shy, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, of matching Rick Ankiel’s 2013 major league record for non-pitchers.