The Red Sox have done it. They have won a series against another American League East team.
Yes, it may have only been one game, but Thursday’s contest against the Orioles at Fenway Park counted as a series, according to The Elias Sports Bureau. Boston therefore clinched its first series win of the season against a divisional opponent with a 4-3 victory over Baltimore.
Matched up against Dean Kremer to begin things on Thursday, the Sox got off to a quick start. Right out of the gate, Xander Bogaerts and Alex Verdugo went back-to-back on a pair of two-out doubles in the first inning. The two traded places to give their side an early 1-0 lead.
Two innings later, Jarren Duran led the bottom of the third off with a hard-hit single and promptly scored all the way from first base when Tommy Pham ripped an RBI double down the left field line. Pham moved up to third on a Rafael Devers sacrifice fly and scored from third on a Bogaerts sacrifice fly to make it a 3-0 game in favor of Boston.
To that point in the contest, Josh Winckowski had been cruising right along. Making his 11th start of the season for the Sox, the rookie right-hander took his shutout bid into the sixth inning before running into some trouble.
After giving up a leadoff single to Cedric Mullins and issuing a five-pitch walk to Adley Rutschman, Winckowski recorded the first two outs of the inning. He then served up a two-run triple to Terrin Vavra, who proceeded to score from third base on an infield single off the bat of Austin Hays.
Winckowski attempted to field the 62.3 mph grounder, but struggled to get the ball out of his glove before making a late underhanded toss to first baseman Eric Hosmer. Hays was initially called out by first base umpire Mark Carlson, but the Orioles challenged the call on the field and it was overturned.
Hays proved to be the last batter Winckowski would face. The 24-year-old hurler wound up allowing three runs on six hits, two walks, and two strikeouts over 5 2/3 innings of work. He threw 93 pitches (63 strikes) and raised his ERA on the season to 4.69.
Austin Davis came on to record the final out of the sixth and did just that to keep the 3-3 stalemate intact going into the bottom half of the inning. Kremer got the first two outs rather quickly before issuing a seven-pitch walk to J.D. Martinez. He was then pulled in favor of Nick Vespi.
Hosmer greeted the new O’s reliever by driving in Martinez all the way from first on a 394-foot RBI double to deep center field. Hosmer’s second hit of the night allowed the Red Sox to jump back out to a 4-3 advantage.
From there, Matt Barnes struck out two and stranded one in the seventh before John Schreiber closed things out by recording the final six outs of the game to notch his fourth save of the year.
With the win, the Red Sox improved to 55-58 on the season. They currently trail the Rays by 4 1/2 games for the third and final American League Wild Card spot.
Also of note, Bogaerts’ first-inning double was the 300th two-base hit of his career. He became the 11th player in Red Sox history to hit 300 doubles with the team, but only the second to do so before turning 30. Carl Yastrzemski first accomplished the feat in 1969.
Next up: Eovaldi vs. German
The Red Sox will now welcome the first-place Yankees into town for a three-game weekend series that begins Friday night. Nathan Eovaldi will get the start in the opener for Boston while fellow eight-hander Domingo German will do the same for New York.
First pitch from Fenway Park is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. eastern time on NESN and MLB Network.
(Picture of Eric Hosmer: Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images)