Five Baltimore pitchers gave up 17 hits today, but Dennis (Oil Can) Boyd had no such problems, becoming the first American League pitcher to shut out the slumping Orioles this season.

Boyd pitched a three-hitter as the Red Sox defeated Baltimore, 12-0, at Memorial Stadium before 36,641. Boyd also was the last man to shut out the Orioles, on Sept. 21 last season.

Mike Easler, Marty Barrett and Jackie Gutierrez each drove in two runs for Boston, which scored seven runs in the ninth inning to put the final touches on a three-game sweep of the Orioles. Boston has won seven straight games and 10 of 11.

The Orioles remained 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Toronto Blue Jays, who lost to the Tigers for the second straight day. The Orioles are tied for second with Detroit in the American League East.

"I love facing them," said Boyd, who did not allow a runner to reach second. "They put fire in me. They got some guys who grit their teeth when they face me. I tried to outthink these guys because they can hit. I'm just maturing every time I pitch. I'm always learning something."

The Orioles did have a few long outs against Boyd (7-4), who struck out four and walked two on 110 pitches in his eighth complete game of the season. But Boyd dominated throughout, and the Red Sox scored eight runs in the last two innings to break it open.

"He pretty much kept us off balance," said Cal Ripken. "He was in the groove and had control, but you can't blame (our loss) on a bad streak with the bats."

"He was effective because he was changing speeds and getting out in front of the hitters," said Orioles designated hitter Larry Sheets. "We hit him hard but they were just to people. I think everybody is going through a state of frustration, a slump, or whatever."

Boyd, tied for the league lead with three shutouts, retired the first seven batters. In the third, Lenn Sakata drove a pitch just wide of the left field foul pole, but Boyd struck him out on the next two pitches. Floyd Rayford (two hits) followed with a single. Lee Lacy grounded to third baseman Wade Boggs for the final out.

Orioles starter Storm Davis (3-2) was nearly as effective in the first three innings. He shut out the Red Sox on three hits -- one on a two-out double by Steve Lyons in the third. But Davis, 1-5 lifetime against Boston, finally faltered.

In the fourth, Davis retired the first two batters before giving up a double to Easler down the left field line. He walked Dwight Evans on a 3-2 pitch and Barrett singled to right to score Easler, who was running on the pitch. Third baseman Wayne Gross booted Glenn Hoffman's ground ball to his left, and Evans scored to make it 2-0.

To open the fifth, Davis got Lyons and Boggs out, but Jim Rice homered to right-center field. Bill Buckner doubled and Easler hit a ground-rule double over left fielder Jim Dwyer, scoring Buckner for a 4-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Boyd cruised along. After Rayford's third-inning single, he retired eight straight before walking Rayford with one out in the sixth. Boyd then struck out Lacy and got Dwyer to fly to center.

Boston made it 5-0 in the eighth off reliever Tippy Martinez. Barrett's two-out RBI single scored Easler (walk) from second base.

Boston got seven hits and seven runs in the ninth off Don Aase.