J.D. Martinez homers twice as Boston sweeps (quotes added)

It was a night where the Orioles took an early lead but failed to max out their scoring chances in those innings. They could have used those runs later on. J.D. Martinez hit two homers as Boston came from 2-0 down in the third to beat the Orioles 6-4 tonight at Oriole Park.

The Red Sox (84-35) improved to 13-2 versus the Orioles (35-83), won for the ninth time in 10 games, and 28th in their past 34 contests. They are 42-20 in road games and sweep the day-night doubleheader. The Orioles are 0-3 in this four-game series and have lost eight of their past 10.

Mike Wright Jr. pitched a scoreless seventh in a 3-3 tie but then Steve Pearce singled with one out in the eighth. Martinez followed with a two-run shot to left center for the 5-3 lead. It was his second homer of the game, 37th of the year, and came on an 0-1 fastball. Martinez has three multi-homer games in 2018 - all versus the Orioles - and 10 for his career. Brock Holt’s RBI single in the ninth gave Boston a three-run margin.

Mancini-swings-orange-sidebar.jpgThe Orioles pulled within 6-4 with two outs in the ninth when Trey Mancini hit an opposite field homer off Craig Kimbrel. It was No. 17 for Mancini, who went 3-for-3 with two walks.

The Orioles took a 2-0 lead after the third, but probably should have had more as they left five runners on base in the second and third innings. Mancini’s single started the second, and he scored on a Renato Núñez double to left. The Orioles had second and third with no outs and didn’t score. Chris Davis, who was on third base, failed to break for home when Cedric Mullins grounded out to second and he didn’t tag up a foul fly off the bat off Joey Rickard. It certainly looked like he could have scored pretty easily on the first out and maybe on the second one too.

Mancini’s RBI single in the third made it 2-0, but the Orioles left the bases loaded in that inning. Three Orioles walked in the third, but they scored just once, and were 2-for-7 with runners in scoring position at that early stage of the game.

Boston would get even against right-hander Yefry Ramírez, who put up three zeroes to start his night. But in the visitor’s fourth, Martinez blasted a solo homer to center. He hit No. 36 on a 3-2 slider on the 10th pitch of the at-bat and it was 2-1. An inning later, Eduardo Nuñez led off with a triple to right-center that Mullins could not get to, and scored on a sac fly by Dan Butler to tie it, 2-2.

Ramírez pitched better than his most recent two starts, when he gave up 11 runs over 6 2/3. Tonight he allowed three hits and two runs over five innings with two walks and five strikeouts on 88 pitches.

Both teams scored once in the sixth for a 3-3 tie. Cody Carroll replaced Ramírez and walked the first two batters he faced. He got a double play ball and that almost bailed him out. But he issued a third walk and uncorked a high wild pitch on ball four to score a go-ahead run for Boston. But Rickard’s solo homer - a few pitches after Mullins was out stealing - tied it 3-3. It was No. 7 for Rickard.

The Red Sox can sweep this four-game series on Sunday afternoon. Right-hander Alex Cobb (3-14, 5.55 ERA) pitches for the Orioles and lefty Chris Sale (11-4, 2.04 ERA) for Boston.

Postgame quotes:

Ramírez, any adjustments from last couple of starts?: “I worked really hard with my pitching coaches, with Ramón (Martinez) as well today. I moved a little bit towards the first base side and I think that made a good improvement for today.”

Ramírez, what will be the key to get deeper in games?: “I think what it is going to take is to force the hitters to swing early on me. To swing on the first pitch and to try to pitch for contact, rather than striking out every single one.”

Ramírez on gaining experience facing Boston for third time: “I’ve learned a lot especially from these good teams with the good hitters. I’ve learned that they make adjustments per pitch. So I need to make adjustments as well.”

Mancini on his improved hitting since the All-Star break: “Yeah I’ve been feeling really good since the break. I didn’t really have like an epiphany or anything. The last thing Manny (Machado) told me before he left was keep working hard and keep appreciating the game and giving it your all and loving it. And eventually it will start loving you back. I did work with Brady (Anderson), Cooley (Scott Coolbaugh) and Howie (Clark) a lot on staying on my backside. If there was one change that was it. But besides that, some things just started to turn. Sometimes when you have confidence, balls fall in. When you don’t they find a glove. It’s funny how it works, but just trying to stay confident out there.”

Mancini on his homer against Kimbrel: “He is one of the best pitchers in the game. You want to stay short and put a good swing on it. You never think home run off him, they just kind of happen. So, two strikes, you go up there and battle. And that is what I tried to do.”

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