Closing Time: Brandon Workman, Red Sox claim 1-0 shutout win over Orioles

June 10, 2014 - 7:10 pm

BALTIMORE -- Brandon Workman proved little short of brilliant, and flirted with something beyond that. The right-hander made it through 4 1/3 innings without allowing a baserunner and through 5 2/3 without permitting a hit, ultimately delivering 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball to lead the Red Sox to a 1-0 win over the Orioles. The perfect game was interrupted when Workman issued a one-out walk to Nelson Cruz, a runner who was quickly erased when he strayed inexplicably towards second on a little pop-up to second that resulted in an inning-ending double play. Workman's no-hitter lasted through 17 outs before Ryan Flaherty jumped on a first-pitch curveball and dunked it into shallow center for the only hit the Red Sox starter would allow. While Workman proved remarkably efficient throughout the game, requiring 67 pitches through 6 2/3 innings, the fact that he had to wait out a pair of rain delays led manager John Farrell to replace him in the seventh. The Red Sox bullpen then did the rest, as Andrew Miller combined with Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara for the final seven outs to secure the Sox' first 1-0 win of the year. Indeed, the Red Sox claimed their first win of the year in which they scored two or fewer runs, claiming a victory in spite of their ongoing offensive struggles. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- Workman, Workman, WORKMAN. The right-hander showed an ability to throw strikes at will with his curveball, spinning a 12-6 offering either in the strike zone for called strikes or getting chases in the dirt. That signature pitch complemented a 91-93 mph fastball that he located well along with a cutter that he used to stay off the Birds' barrels. He maintained an aggressive, attacking tempo, on a night when he allowed just two baserunners in 6 2/3 shutout innings. The 6 2/3 innings represented a new carer high for Workman, and the start likewise marked the first time in his career that he didn't give up a run. He struck out four and walked one. He lowered his ERA to 2.86. -- The Red Sox bullpen was dominant. Andrew Miller came on in relief of Workman to punch out O's masher Chris Davis, Junichi Tazawa followed with a perfect eighth inning (two strikeouts) before Koji Uehara recorded his 13th save in as many opportunities (working around a single and an A.J. Pierzynski error with two strikeouts), extending his scoreless innings streak to 16 games and 17 innings. -- Brock Holt went 2-for-5 with a pair of singles and scored the Sox' lone run. He led off the game with a single, improving to 7-for-19 -- a .368 average -- in the first at-bat of the game for the Red Sox. Overall, when hitting in the leadoff spot, Holt is now hitting .352 with a .372 OBP and .489 slugging mark. -- A.J. Pierzynski had good at-bats throughout the game, going 2-for-4 and nearly going deep against left-hander Brian Matusz in the eighth inning, a bid that was denied when right fielder Nick Markakis hauled in the shot. And, of course, Pierzynski worked well with Workman and the pitching staff, nearly stewarding the group through a no-hitter. WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- The Red Sox' struggles to capitalize on opportunities persisted. Though the team managed a respectable 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position, the magnitude of squanders was considerable. Most notably, after the Sox loaded the bases with no outs on three straight singles to open the fourth inning, the team failed to push a run across, as Brock Holt punched out and Xander Bogaerts grounded into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play. The Sox left nine runners on base. -- For the 12th time, the Red Sox were limited to one or no runs. -- Bogaerts went 0-for-4, and he's now 0-for-12 with three straight hitless games. The stretch marks just his second of the year in which he's failed to collect a hit in as many as three straight games, with the first coming on May 6-10. -- Dustin Pedroia went 0-for-4, and he's now 0-for-10 in his last three games -- his first streak this year of three straight games without a hit. His on-base percentage fell to .340, its lowest point since May 9.