ST. PETERSBURG — All the hits and runs, all the home runs the Orioles hit off Jake Odorizzi the previous time he pitched were frustrating, sure, but not as frustrating as what Odorizzi did to allow the damage.
He became a one-pitch pitcher, throwing nearly all fastballs. The Orioles picked up on that, of course, and that was that.
“I was frustrated last time with my (pitch) selection, and I thought I got into a really bad habit so I wanted to be unpredictable (Saturday,)” Odorizzi said.
So the Rays’ rookie right-hander got back into the habit of throwing off-speed pitches in fastball counts, throwing his slider for first-pitch strikes.
“(The) constant mix kept us off-balance and off-stride throughout the night,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
The result was seven innings of one-hit ball by Odorizzi, who bounced back nicely Saturday to lead the Rays to a 7-0 victory against the Red Sox in front of 17,462 at Tropicana Field.
Odorizzi earned his 10th win of the season and combined with Jeff Beliveau and Kirby Yates on the club’s franchise-record 18th shutout of the season.
It was the second time this month Odorizzi was able to shrug off a poor start with at least six shutout innings. He did it Aug. 9 at Chicago against the Cubs, when he bounced back from a three-inning, five-run outing against the Angels. He did it again Saturday when he rebounded from his night in Baltimore when he allowed eight runs on 11 hits, both career highs.
And he did it how?
“Simplifying things, really,” Odorizzi said. “For me, I know those kind of outings, they happen and I know I can get right back to where I was before that and I think that’s a testament to trusting yourself, being confident and saying I got beat last time out, I’m going to beat them this time out.”
Odorizzi allowed a fourth-inning single to Will Middlebrooks. He hit Yoenis Cespedes with a pitch to start the second inning and walked three with two outs in the seventh inning. That lapse of control prevented Odorizzi from possibly pitching the first complete-game shutout of his career.
Rays manager Joe Maddon said throwing his slider more was the difference-maker for Odorizzi. That, and his mental makeup.
“Besides the physical skills, the mental skills are very good,” Maddon said. “He can take something that was not a good outing and file it, knowing that it was just one time out and it does not nick or impact his confidence.”
Odorizzi is also a vastly different pitcher than he was earlier in the season, when he struggled to get through the order twice. He’s more of a strikeout pitcher — seven on Saturday — and he can throw all his pitches for strikes.
“I know I was capable of it,” Odorizzi said. “But doing it and being capable of doing it are two different things.”
Of the Rays’ seven runs, only one scored on a hit. That was James Loney’s second-inning double that scored Evan Longoria from first base. The other six runs were produced by a pair of sacrifice flies, two groundouts and a throwing error by Red Sox catcher David Ross.
Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia left the game in the second inning when he was struck on the side of his head by Logan Forsythe’s elbow as he tried to tag Forsythe, who was trying to advance from first to second on Ryan Hanaigan’s sacrifice fly.
Farrell said Pedroia exhibited concussion-like symptoms.
Forsythe said he did not hit Pedroia intentionally.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I’m not that kind of player.”
Said Farrell: “It looked like the momentum took him across the bag.”
There also were five batters hit by pitches, the last four by Red Sox pitchers. Maddon said aside from the fastball that nicked Longoria in the second inning, the other pitches were breaking balls.
When asked if he felt there was intent behind any of those pitches, Maddon said, “I didn’t.”