By Matt Dolloff, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Rick Porcello took his first home loss of the season Wednesday night, but it came in an absolute gem of a performance.
Porcello fired eight strong innings at Fenway Park against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing just one earned run on four hits with no walks while striking out six. The only big mistake of Porcello’s outing was a towering solo home run by the Orioles’ Mark Trumbo, but it was enough to take the loss for the Red Sox, who could not solve Orioles starter Kevin Gausman.
Porcello now sits at 20-4 on the season, but as he’s made clear before, he doesn’t care about what happens with his own stats or standing in the Cy Young race as long as the Red Sox keep winning ballgames.
“I mean, we lost. It’s a big game,” Porcello told reporters after the game. “We’re not playing for personal numbers; we’re playing to win. This was a big game for us.”
Porcello was hard on himself about his otherwise strong performance, in which looked shaky at the beginning but he eventually calmed down. But Trumbo’s monster home run, his league-leading 42nd of the season, was all the Orioles needed as the ball rocketed completely out of Fenway Park and onto Lansdowne St.
“It was a bad pitch and he jumped all over it,” said Porcello.
Despite taking the loss, Porcello ultimately overcame a night where he didn’t have his best stuff and had to deal with strong, swirling winds – which he said actually helped him.
“Adam Jones on another night probably would have had two home runs off me,” said Porcello on the Orioles center fielder, who flew out to deep center field and deep left in his first two at-bats off Porcello.
Porcello has had the right attitude for a while now, employing the kind of mentality you love to see in a starting pitcher, especially as your team barrels toward the postseason. The Red Sox sit just one game ahead of Baltimore in the American League East after the conclusion of the series and lead the Toronto Blue Jays by two games. The New York Yankees, who come to Fenway for a four-game weekend series starting Thursday, sit four games back in the East.
The Red Sox are in good-enough shape where if they end up missing the playoffs, you could call it a “collapse.” But as long as they keep getting strong pitching from Porcello, David Price and others, they will win enough games to earn a spot, their struggles in low-scoring games notwithstanding.
“This is what you play for, to play meaningful baseball in September, and hopefully into October,” said Porcello. “So it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
Matt Dolloff is a writer for CBSBostonSports.com. His opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CBS or 98.5 The Sports Hub. Have a news tip or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff and email him at email@example.com.