BOSTON — Mark Trumbo gave the Baltimore Orioles another mighty home run, and Kevin Gausman took it from there.
Trumbo hit his major league-leading 42nd home run, Gausman outpitched Rick Porcello over eight innings and the Orioles pulled within a game of AL East-leading Boston with a 1-0 win over the Red Sox on Wednesday night.
Baltimore took two of three in the series at Fenway Park and pulled a game ahead of slumping Toronto for the top AL wild card. The Blue Jays lost at home to Tampa Bay 8-1 earlier Wednesday.
“The guys have earned the right to play these type of games. It’s a very quiet confidence,” O’s manager Buck Showalter said. “They’re not guys that toot their own horn. I think they kind of like when people sell them short.”
Gausman (8-10) and Porcello (20-4) both pitched gems and had nearly identical line scores over eight innings, except Porcello threw a hanging slider that Trumbo drove over the Green Monster on the first pitch of the second inning.
“It was a bad pitch and he jumped all over it,” said Porcello, who lost a home start for the first time this season.
Trumbo’s at-bat in the second was about the only time a hitter prevailed against either starter. Each finished with six strikeouts and limited a powerful offense to four hits before giving way to the bullpen in the ninth.
“This was a classic pitcher’s duel,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “In the second inning, you don’t think there’s only going to be one run on the board for both clubs combined but tip your hat to both guys.”
Zach Britton closed for his 43rd save.
Porcello was 13-0 in home starts with one no decision entering the game. Trumbo belted the first pitch of the second inning out to left, easily clearing the Monster for his career-high 100th RBI. The one run ended up deciding the series, with another to follow next week when the Orioles host the Red Sox for four games.
“We’re just out there competing. You don’t really take into account who’s done what where,” Trumbo said. “Whether it be at this park or another one, we still have a job to do.”
Meanwhile, the Yankees are hanging around behind the O’s and Blue Jays in fourth place. New York comes to Boston for a four-game series trailing the Red Sox by four games.
“We don’t anticipate anything different from here all the way out,” Farrell said. “This is going to be a hard-fought division right to the final game of the season. We fully embrace it. We fully expect it and we’re looking forward to the challenges ahead.”
This was Gausman’s fourth scoreless outing in his past five starts and matched the longest start of his career. He threw 120 pitches and lowered his ERA to 3.43.
“I think I’m just being a lot more consistent with all my pitches,” Gausman said. “Every year I’ve always got better as the year’s gone on, but this year it’s kind of all clicking for me.”
Baltimore homered three times Tuesday in a 6-3 win to even the series, then clinched its fourth straight series victory with another homer by Trumbo.
“He’s figured some things out. He’s not as susceptible to offspeed pitches as he once was,” Farrell said. “He’s got as much power as anybody in the game and if you don’t make your pitches, you see what he can do with it.”
Boston had a scare in the second when J.J. Hardy hit a hard grounder up the middle and the ball bounced off Porcello’s calf to third baseman Travis Shaw. Hardy ran out the single while Porcello limped around the mound, and the game was delayed briefly to allow Porcello a few warm-ups before continuing.
“It got me in a good spot. If it got me in the shin it might have been a little bit tougher,” Porcello said.
Orioles: OF Steve Pearce was in New York on Wednesday to receive a platelet-rich plasma injection the Orioles hope will speed his recovery from a sore right elbow. “We’ll let it run its course and see if he’s going to be available to us at some point,” Showalter said.
Red Sox: RHP Steven Wright (right shoulder strain) is expected to start throwing next week in Fort Myers, Florida. Farrell said the knuckleballer will need to gradually regain some arm strength and his return during the regular season is uncertain. “I don’t want to rule it out, but at this point it’s going to become a little bit more challenging with each passing day,” Farrell said.
Orioles: RHP Yovani Gallardo (5-7, 5.44 ERA) starts as the Orioles are back at home for a four-game series against last-place Tampa Bay. LHP Blake Snell (5-8, 3.62) starts for the Rays.
Red Sox: LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (2-7, 4.70) gets the start Thursday as Boston opens a four-game series against the New York Yankees. RHP Masahiro Tanaka (13-4, 3.04) is up in the visiting Yankees’ rotation.