BALTIMORE—A night after the Orioles clinched their first American League East title since 2014, the team honored Jim Palmer, the best pitcher in the team’s history for 60 years with the organization.
After the ceremony, which was attended by Oriole greats Cal Ripken Jr., Boog Powell, Ken Singleton and Al Bumbry, John Means retired the first 13 Boston batters until Rob Refsnyder doubled. Trevor Story hit his third home run of the season, and that was enough for the Red Sox, who beat the Orioles, 3-0, before an announced crowd of 28,192 at Camden Yards on Friday night.
“It was a big night for us last night, and we didn’t play our best baseball today,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Those things happen. Hopefully, we’ll rebound and play a better game tomorrow.”
Last Saturday night, Means (1-2) threw 6 2/3 hitless innings, and allowed just one hit, a seventh-inning home run by Andrés Giménez in throwing 7 1/3 innings at Cleveland. On Friday night, he went 6 1/3 in his fourth start since returning from Tommy John surgery.
“I was in control. I threw my fastball and changeup well. Breaking stuff was good enough. I felt pretty good,” Means said.
He allowed two runs on three hits, struck out four without walking a batter.
“I thought Means threw the ball really well,” Hyde said. “They were aggressive early in the count, and they got a lot of early count outs there, especially in the first third of the game. Really good changeup again, and I thought he located his fastball well. He didn’t throw that many breaking balls, but good changeup again.”
Means is hoping for a spot in the postseason starting rotation.
“I feel like the command is there. I made a mistake tonight. I made a mistake last time,” he said. “Other than that, I feel like 99 percent of my pitches are right where I want them … I feel like I’ve gotten better as I went.
Boston starter Nick Pivetta (10-9) ran his lifetime record to 8-2 against the Orioles (100-60), whose five-game winning streak was broken.
“We seem to struggle,” Hyde said of Pivetta. “He’s got really good stuff. We didn’t take many good at-bats and didn’t hit many balls hard on him. I thought he was keeping us really off balance and he’s got good stuff.”
Catcher Adley Rutschman and third baseman Ramón Urías were scratched from the starting lineup about 90 minutes before gametime and were replaced by James McCann and Jordan Westburg.
Hyde expects them both in the lineup on Saturday.
Ryan Mountcastle singled with one out in the first, and Westburg doubled with one out in the fifth. Westburg moved to third on a wild pitch by Pivetta, who walked McCann in the third and struck out 10.
Austin Hays was hitless in three at-bats against Pivetta, and he’s 0-for-18 when facing him.
Pivetta and Garrett Whitlock retired 14 batters in a row until Mountcastle’s single with two outs in the ninth. Whitlock earned his first save.
Boston (77-83) scored a run without a hit in the ninth. Ceddanne Rafaela walked against Shintaro Fujinami. He stole second and advanced to third on a wild throw by McCann and scored when Rafael Devers grounded back to Fujinami, but Rafaela beat the tag.
The Orioles were shut out for the ninth time this season.
Means didn’t pitch for 17 months after his surgery, and now he could start in the postseason.
“It should be a fun time. I can’t wait,” Means said.
Note: Kyle Gibson (15-9, 4.86) will face Kutter Crawford (6-8, 4.23) on Saturday night at 7:15. The game will be televised by Fox.