The Red Sox put an end to their four-game losing streak on Saturday with a commanding win over the Orioles. Boston defeated Baltimore by a final score of 17-4 to even the three-game series and improve to 68-72 on the season.
With Jordan Lyles on the mound for the O’s, the Sox did not waste any time in jumping out to an early lead. After Tommy Pham drew a leadoff walk, Alex Verdugo singled, and Xander Bogaerts was plunked by a pitch, the bases were loaded with no outs in the first inning for Rafael Devers.
Devers, who had not homered in his last 21 games, got ahead in the count at 2-0 and promptly cranked a 425-foot grand slam into the Red Sox bullpen in deep left-center field. The 26th home run of the season for Devers had an exit velocity of 104.6 mph and put Boston up, 4-0.
Michael Wacha, making his 19th start of the season for the Sox, already had a four-run lead to work with when he took the mound for the first time on Saturday. The veteran right-hander put together yet another quality outing, allowing three earned runs on six hits and zero walks to go along with five strikeouts over six innings.
The first of those three runs came in the bottom of the third, when Wacha served up a solo shot to Cedric Mullins. The Red Sox lineup, however, responded by putting up another four-spot in their half of the fourth.
After Enrique Hernandez and Kevin Plawecki traded places on back-to-back one-out doubles, Verdugo plated Plawecki on a line-drive single to right field. Verdugo moved up to second base on a Bogaerts single and then scored from there when Devers greeted new Orioles reliever Keegan Akin by ripping a run-scoring base hit to left-center field. Trevor Story capped the four-run inning off with another RBI single that drove in Bogaerts left his bat at 99.6 mph.
An inning later, J.D. Martinez led off with a softly-hit double and was immediately driven in when Christian Arroyo clubbed a two-run homer 396 feet over the left field wall for his sixth big fly of the year.
Wacha, meanwhile, ran into some more trouble in the bottom of the fifth. After Gunnar Henderson reached on a leadoff single and moved up to third on a Ramon Urias double, Wacha yielded a sacrifice fly to Jorge Mateo that scored Henderson. Urias, who advanced to third on the play, came into score on an RBI single from Mullins.
Though he was charged with both of those runs, Wacha stranded Mullins by punching out Adley Rutschman before retiring three of the final four batters he faced in the sixth. The 31-year-old hurler wound up throwing 82 pitches (60 strikes) while inducing a total of swings-and-misses. He picked up his 11th winning decision of the season and lowered his ERA to 2.69.
Following a scoreless seventh inning from Ryan Brasier, Boston tacked on additional run off Baltimore reliever Yennier Cano in the top of the eighth. Abraham Almonte led off with a single, marking his first hit in a Red Sox uniform. Almonte went from first to third on a two-out single from Devers and then came into score on a 100.7 mph base hit from Story.
Taking a sizable 11-3 lead into the latter half of the eighth, Matt Strahm took over for Brasier. The left-hander got the first two outs of the inning and was well on his way to getting his third, but Story misplayed a 197-foot flyball off the bat of the pinch-hitting Ryan McKenna and was charged with a fielding error. McKenna was able to take second as a result, and then scored from second on a Ryan Mountcastle RBI single.
In the top of the ninth, Almonte provided some late scoring with an RBI single that pushed across Hernandez from second base. Connor Wong, who came off the bench to pinch-hit for Devers, followed with an infield single that brought in Plawecki and kept the bases loaded for Story, who drew a four-pitch walk to plate Almonte.
That prompted an Orioles pitching change, as McKenna — the right fielder — took over for Cano. Martinez, Arroyo, and Hernandez kept the line moving by driving in three more runs before Plawecki grounded out to mercifully end the inning. Eduard Bazardo closed it out with a scoreless bottom of the ninth to secure a one-sided 17-4 victory.
All told, the Red Sox went 11-for-17 with runners in scoring position on Saturday while racking up a season-high 17 runs on a season-high 21 hits. Almonte, Verdugo, Story, Martinez, Arroyo, and Plawecki each had two hits. Devers went 3-for-5 with five RBIs and Hernandez went 4-for-6 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Pham exits with left shin contusion
Tommy Pham exited Saturday’s game in the middle of the fourth inning because of a left knee shin contusion he sustained in the top of the first. He went 0-for-1 with a walk and run scored prior to getting pulled and is considered day-to-day. In his place, Abraham Almonte went 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Next up: Hill vs. Bradish in rubber match
The Red Sox will look to close out a series win over the Orioles on Sunday afternoon. Veteran left-hander Rich Hill will start the finale for Boston while right-hander Kyle Bradish will do the same for Baltimore.
First pitch from Camden Yards is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. eastern time on NESN.
(Picture of Rafael Devers: Greg Fiume/Getty Images)