Rafael Devers enjoys swinging the bat at Camden Yards in Baltimore. That’s really no secret, and Devers showed why on Sunday afternoon.
After his side fell behind a run in the bottom of the first, Devers launched a 423-foot solo shot with an exit velocity of 110.7 mph off the bat to dead center field against right-hander Dean Kremer to knot things up at 1-1.
Later on in the sixth, Devers came through once again, this time coming up with the bases loaded and driving in a pair on another hard-hit (106.7 mph exit velocity), go-ahead two-run double to right-center field.
Devers accounted for three of the four runs the Red Sox scored against the Orioles that saw them improve to 22-13 on the season following a 4-3 victory on Mother’s Day.
Renfroe’s hot May continues
The only other Red Sox hitter who contributed to the cause offensively in this one was Hunter Renfroe.
The slugging outfielder provided what would turn out to be some much-needed insurance in the top half of the eighth by crushing a booming solo home run off Cole Sulser to give Boston a 4-2 lead.
Renfroe’s fourth home run of the season traveled 453 feet off his bat and had an exit velocity of over 113 mph, making it the second hardest-hit ball by a Red Sox this season.
He also made an impressive leaping catch to rob Cedric Mullins of extra bases in the bottom of the first inning.
Through eight games this month, the 29-year-old is hitting .314 (11-for-35) with three homers, nine RBI, and seven runs scored.
Pivetta allows two runs over six solid innings
Nick Pivetta made his seventh start of the season for Boston on Sunday. The right-hander allowed two runs — both of which were earned — on three hits and three walks to go along with two strikeouts over six innings of work.
The first of those Orioles runs came right away in the bottom of the first, which proved to be somewhat of a grind for Pivetta considering the fact that the needed 30 pitches to get through the inning.
He walked back-to-back hitters with two outs in the first before yielding an RBI single to Ryan Mountcastle.
In the fifth, more two-out trouble arose for Pivetta, this time serving up a 384-foot solo blast to Mullins which at the time gave Baltimore a 2-1 lead.
Pivetta did manage to retire four of the last five Orioles he faced, though, and his day came to an end once as he recorded the final out of the sixth.
Finishing with a final pitch count of 103 (72 strikes), the 28-year-old hurler turned to his four-seam fastball 49% of the time he was on the mound Sunday, inducing three swings-and-misses while topping out at 97 mph with the pitch.
Able to improve to a perfect 5-0 on the season and lower his ERA to 3.19, Pivetta’s next start should come against the Angels back at Fenway Park on Friday.
Bullpen closes it out
In relief of Pivetta, left-hander Josh Taylor got the first call out of the Red Sox bullpen in the middle of the seventh inning.
Taylor walked the first man he faced, but erased that by getting Rio Ruiz to line into a 4-3 double play. He then walked another batter before fanning Mullins on five pitches to retire the side.
From there, Adam Ottavino plunked the first batter he faced in the eighth and allowed said batter to score on an RBI double off the bat of Mountcastle, which cut Boston’s lead to one run at 4-3.
That led to Matt Barnes coming out for the ninth, and the Red Sox closer needed all of nine pitches to work a 1-2-3 inning and notch his eighth save of the season to preserve the 4-3 win.
Next up: Perez vs. Lopez
The Red Sox will go four the four-game sweep over the Orioles and their fifth consecutive win overall on Monday night.
Left-hander Martin Perez will get the ball for Boston, and he will be opposed by right-hander Jorge Lopez for Baltimore.
Boson got to Lopez for seven runs (two home runs) in just four innings the last time they faced him on April 11.
First pitch Monday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Rafael Devers and Bobby Dalbec: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)