Bobby Dalbec came into Friday’s game against the Orioles in the midst of an 0-for-27 slump at the plate having not recorded a hit since April 27.
In his first at-bat of the night, Dalbec ripped a one-out single to left field in the top half of the third inning.
An inning later, the 26-year-old then clubbed a 399-foot three-run home run in that same direction off Orioles starter Matt Harvey to give his side a 4-0 lead.
The Red Sox ultimately topped the O’s by a final score of 6-2 at Camden Yards on Friday to improve to 20-13 on the season and become the first team this year to reach the 20-win mark.
Rodriguez goes five innings
Eduardo Rodriguez made his sixth start of the season — and second against Baltimore — for Boston in this one. The left-hander surrendered just one run, though he did scatter seven hits and three walks to go along with a season-low two strikeouts over five innings of work.
The one run Rodriguez gave up in his final frame of work, when he allowed three straight hitters to reach base on a double, walk, and RBI single from Trey Mancini. He did manage to retire the last two Orioles he faced to hold them at one run.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 91 (61 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his changeup 31% of the time he was on the mound Friday, inducing three swings-and-misses with the pitch. He also topped out at 92.8 mph with his four-seam fastball, a pitch he threw 19 times.
Able to improve to a perfect 5-0 on the season while lowering his ERA to 3.82, Rodriguez’s next start should come against the Athletics back at Fenway Park on Wednesday.
Sawamura’s homer troubles continue
In relief of Rodriguez, Hirokazu Sawamura got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the middle of the sixth inning.
The right-hander served up a leadoff home run to Ryan Mountcastle to cut Boston’s lead to two runs at 4-2 before sitting down the next three hitters he faced in order.
Sawamura has now allowed at least one homer in two of his last four appearances and has seen his ERA on the season inflate up to 3.77 as a result.
Whitlock bounces back with two scoreless frames
On the flip side of Sawamura’s struggles, Rule 5 pick Garrett Whitlock bounced back from back-to-back poor outings against the Rangers and Tigers by tossing two scoreless innings of relief against the Orioles on Friday.
Renroe takes advantage of O’s sloppy defense, gets Sox on the board in the fourth
Before Dalbec went deep in the fourth, Hunter Renfroe provided Boston with an early 1-0 lead by driving in Rafael Devers from third on an RBI single off Harvey.
Devers had reached base — and advanced to second — in the first place on a missed catch error committed by the Orioles starter. He then stole third base to make it even easier for Renfroe to pick up his 15th RBI of the season.
Vazquez, Gonzalez provide late-inning insurance
With a 4-2 lead already in hand, the Sox tacked on two additional runs on a pair of run-scoring doubles from the likes of Christian Vazquez and Marwin Gonzalez in the eighth and ninth innings to make it a 6-2 contest.
This in turn, allowed Boston to rest closer Matt Barnes another day and deploy Phillips Valdez for the bottom half of the ninth.
Valdez closes it out
Valdez, making his second relied appearance in as many days after not appearing in a game for nearly two weeks, stranded the one hitter he allowed to reach base in an otherwise perfect inning to secure the 6-2 victory for his side.
Rain delay leads to late start
Friday’s game between the Sox and Orioles did not start until 8:43 p.m. eastern time due to a one-hour and 38 minute rain delay. The final out was not recorded until after midnight.
Next up: Richards vs. Lowther
Next up for the Red Sox, they will send right-hander Garrett Richards to the mound Saturday night to face off against left-hander Zac Lowther for Baltimore.
First pitch Saturday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Bobby Dalbec and Co.: Patrick Smith/Getty Images)