BALTIMORE (AP) — Ryan Mountcastle hit a tiebreaking RBI double in the seventh inning and scored on an infield hit to lead the AL East champion Baltimore Orioles to their 101st victory of the season, 5-2 over the last-place Boston Red Sox 5-2 on Saturday night.
Baltimore (101-60), which hosts an AL Division Series starting Oct. 7, is finishing its winningest season since going 102-57 in 1979.
“I want our guys to understand how great of an accomplishment that is,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We won every series against the AL East. That’s an incredible accomplishment as well with all the talent, how good the teams are in our division.”
After Boston’s Kutter Crawford allowed one hit in six innings, Josh Winckowski (4-4) gave up a single to Adley Rutschman leading off the seventh. Pinch-runner Jorge Mateo stole second standing up, and Mountcastle doubled to right with two outs for a 1-0 lead.
Heston Kjerstad’s infield single that second baseman Pablo Reyes couldn’t field enabled Mountcastle to score from second.
Bruce Zimmermann (2-0), recalled from Triple-A Norfolk earlier in the day, pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Kyle Gibson, who allowed seven hits in five scoreless innings.
Trevor Story’s RBI single infield single against Jack Flaherty in the eighth cut Baltimore’s lead to 2-1. Before Story’s hit, Boston (77-84) had 10 hits without scoring.
The Orioles added three runs in the eighth on Mateo’s force out that scored Jordan Westburg and Anthony Santander’s two-run single.
Crawford struck out seven without walking a batter.
Masataka Yoshida singled in a run in the ninth inning.
IT’S A RELIEF
Before the game, Boston manager Alex Cora said that he’s considering using Winckowski as a starter next season. Winckowski is among the major league leaders with 83 1/3 relief innings.
Last year, Gibson, who was a starter all season for the Philadelphia Phillies, was in the bullpen for the postseason. This season, he leads Baltimore with 15 wins and 192 innings, but his place in the postseason rotation isn’t certain.
“They’ll figure that out,” Gibson said. “I don’t know what they’re going to do. I don’t know that any of us really do. Be ready whenever they tell you that it’s your chance to pitch and you take the ball whether it’s in the first inning, the fourth inning, the eighth inning.”
Red Sox: RHP Kenley Jansen, who was activated from the COVID-19 injured list on Sept. 23, won’t pitch again. He hasn’t appeared since Sept. 12.
Orioles: RHP Félix Bautista, who hasn’t pitched since Aug. 25, will undergo Tommy John surgery next month. He’s expected to return for the 2025 season.
Tanner Houck (5-10, 5.31) starts for the Red Sox against the Orioles’ Kyle Bradish (12-7, 2.86). Manager Brandon Hyde says that Bradish, who could start Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Oct. 7, may not pitch long.
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