Boston Red Sox 6, Baltimore Orioles 4
BOSTON – Eduardo Rodriguez became the first Red Sox starter to win a game this season as Boston held off the visiting Baltimore Orioles 6-4 on Friday night in the opener of a four-game series.
Rodriguez, who entered the seventh having allowed just one hit, gave up a two-run home run to Dwight Smith Jr. with two outs in the inning, ending his night. He gave up the two runs on three hits, striking out eight and walking none.
Entering the game, Boston starters had been 0-8 with a league-worst 8.79 ERA this year. The Red Sox (5-9) are on their first winning streak of the season following a walk-off victory over Toronto a night earlier.
The Orioles (5-9) dropped their fourth straight game and have lost eight of their last nine following a 4-1 start. Baltimore scored two in the ninth on a Renato Nunez homer off Tyler Thornburg, and Ryan Brasier came in to get the final two outs for his third save.
Chris Davis made the final out as a pinch hitter to extend his hitless streak to 54 at-bats, a record for a non-pitcher.
Rodriguez, who began the day 0-2 with a 12.38 ERA, appeared locked in from the start. He struck out two in the first inning, only throwing fastballs and consistently hitting 95 mph.
The Red Sox offense broke through in the third against Orioles starter David Hess on Andrew Benintendi’s first home run of the season. Boston added two more runs in the fourth, with Xander Bogaerts doubling in one and Eduardo Nunez sending him home with a single.
Hess (1-2) gave up three runs on six hits in 5 2/3 innings, striking out three.
Rodriguez, meanwhile, continued to cruise. He retired the first 14 batters he faced before Hanser Alberto singled to left. After getting the first out of the seventh, though, Trey Mancini doubled on a ball that appeared to deceive Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts, giving the Orioles their first scoring threat.
Smith then pulled a 1-2 changeup down the line in right for his second homer in as many days.
Boston added an insurance run in seventh before pulling away with two in the eighth. Jackie Bradley Jr., who helped preserve the lead with a leaping grab at the wall with a runner on to end the top of the eighth, had a sacrifice fly as part of the rally.
NOTES: The four-game series between the Red Sox and the Orioles continues this weekend with a pair of 1:05pm EDT starts on both Saturday and Sunday at Fenway. On Saturday, RHP Rick Porcello (0-2, 13.50 ERA) throws for Boston while Baltimore RHP Andrew Cashner (2-1, 5.28 ERA) goes for the O’s. On Sunday, LHP David Price (0-1, 6.00 ERA) will take the mound for the Sox while LHP John Means (1-1, 2.08 ERA) pitches for Baltimore. … On Monday, Patriots’ Day in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Boston’s starter is TBA but Baltimore is scheduled to toss RHP Dan Straily (0-1, 19.29 ERA). … Monday’s game has a first pitch of 11am to coincide with the famed Boston Marathon but, like last year, the ballgame is in jeopardy of a rainout, as the current forecast is calling for a 100% chance of rain most of the day. … J.D. Martinez is two home runs shy of hitting 200 for his career. Interestingly, it took him 609 games and 2,229 at-bats to reach his 100th HR (22.3 AB/HR), but he’s hit 98 in his last 327 games and 1,217 at-bats (12.4 AB/HR). Martinez has batted .333 (AVG) over his last 79 games at Fenway Park. … Martinez (11.54), Joey Gallo (11.60) and Mike Trout (11.75) are the only major leaguers under 12 ABs/HR.
-Staff and Field Level Media Report