Burnes motors through Red Sox lineup and Orioles' offense is clutch in 7-1 win (updated)

BOSTON – They came out of the dugout one by one again today, walking up a red carpet and making a hard right along the third base line. The march of the Orioles. Introduced on another Opening Day, their third if we aren’t counting the first spring training game.

Corbin Burnes started that afternoon and again on March 28 at Camden Yards. He stood on the mound at Fenway Park, the only opportunity in his seven-year major league career, with the emotions from Red Sox fans overflowing after the club’s return from a three-city West Coast trip, the 2004 team reunion and tribute to late knuckleballer Tim Wakefield and wife Stacy.

Burnes retired two batters in the first inning, threw a curveball to Tyler O’Neill, heard the contact and walked onto the grass in front of that same mound. He wouldn’t pitch with an early lead, but it was coming.

One run wouldn’t be insurmountable for an Orioles offense that’s been noticeably small in the clutch.

O’Neill belted his league-leading sixth homer, but Burnes allowed only two hits and none after the first, and Colton Cowser drove in four runs in a 7-1 victory before an announced sellout crowd of 36,093.

The sweepless streak for the Orioles (6-4) in the regular season has reached 95 series. They pounded out 13 hits, continuing their love affair with Boston’s historic ballpark.

The Orioles tied the game in the top of the second on Cedric Mullins’ two-out walk and stolen base and Cowser’s double off the wall in left-center field.

Cowser doubled again in the fourth to plate two unearned runs after Ryan Mountcastle reached with two outs on an infield single, the ball deflecting off third baseman Rafael Devers and shortstop David Hamilton, and Jarren Duran let Mullins’ fly ball bounce off his glove after chasing it into the left field corner.

Cowser’s second double made the Orioles 3-for-5 with runners in scoring position. He struck out against left-hander Joely Rodríguez to leave Mountcastle on second base in the sixth, but his sacrifice fly in the eighth came after the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs and upped the lead to 5-1.

"It was fun, I had a good time," Cowser said of his first Fenway experience. "Crowd was good. I really enjoyed the opening ceremony. It was fun."

What about his performance, which allowed him to become the seventh Orioles rookie with four or more RBIs versus the Red Sox and first since Trey Mancini did it twice in 2017?

"That was fun, too," he said, grinning. "As a whole I think it was a great team win."

Today marked Cowser’s first multi-RBI game in the majors.

"Big hits for us there early in the game," said manager Brandon Hyde. "He played really well. That was a great addition today."

Burnes retired 12 in a row and 19 of the last 21 after Triston Casas’ two-out single in the first. He gloved Duran’s line drive in the third that registered 106.4 mph off the bat.

Tony Kemp ran down Masataka Yoshida’s pop-up in the fourth and made a sliding catch in foul territory after Casas’ leadoff walk.

Burnes’ six strikeouts came within his final 11 batters, beginning with Ceddanne Rafaela in the fourth – three on his cutter, two with his slider and one with his changeup. He threw 90 pitches and lowered his ERA to 1.93.

"Kind of a tough start for him," Hyde said. "He hung a breaking ball to O'Neill, but besides that, he gave up two hits through seven innings, he was in total command pitching in a tight game. He punched out a bunch. That's No. 1 starter stuff right there."

Burnes is the first Orioles starter since Dean Kremer in September 2020 to begin a season with three consecutive outings of five-plus innings and two runs or fewer.

"It took me until probably the third inning to feel comfortable out there," he said. "For whatever reason, the first two innings, command wasn't right. Didn't really spin the ball good until the third inning. We kind of locked it in, started mixing a little better, got them off-balance, started getting the punchouts there late. For whatever reason today, it took me three innings to get comfortable.

"First time throwing here, their home opener, really shouldn't have any effect on me. I'm going out there and going through my process as I would any other time. For whatever reason today just took me 25-30 pitches to kind of get that groove. Ideally, you like to figure it out a little bit before that, but we were fortunate to be able to make barely good enough pitches to get through those 30 pitches before we locked it in."

The Orioles didn’t look like they’d shower him with runs, but they sprinkled in a few more and kept going after he left.

Ramón Urías’ infield single after Cowser’s second double was the last hit until Gunnar Henderson doubled with two outs in the seventh to stop an 0-for-12 skid. Henderson, who was 3-for-29 since March 30, got a huge jump while Josh Winckowski held the ball and stole third base, and he scored on Adley Rutschman’s single into center for a 4-1 lead. Rutschman is 4-for-9 with six RBIs with runners in scoring position.

Henderson also singled to lead off the ninth, Rutschman singled and Anthony Santander singled into right-center to pad the lead. Santander was 5-for-33 before the hit.

The Orioles were 8-for-15 today with RISP, including Mullins' long bases-loaded single in the ninth that brought home Rutschman. And that’s after Cowser and Urías struck out with the bases full.

Mullins was 2-for-20 since the second game before collecting two hits.

"I love the tack-on runs," Hyde said. "That's something we've talked a lot about, something we could definitely be better on from last year, making it a little bit easier on ourselves later in the game. Once we got the lead and continued to score, continued to put pressure on, even though we didn't have our best baserunning game today, we made a lot of things happen. Great to see some of our guys get multiple-hit games, guys who have kind of been a little frustrated and over-trying at times."

The team looked like it was venting, taking out its frustrations on the Red Sox's pitchers.

"They swung the bat great," Burnes said. "We took some great ABs, grinded their starter down, got into their bullpen and capitalized on it."

The sprinkler celebration returned today. Maybe that explains the offensive outburst.

"I think the sprinklers are back," Cowser said. "A couple stagnant days on offense, and we thought it was a pretty good year last year, so we thought we'd go ahead and try to bring it back."

Whether the home run celebration changes from the handlebars is to be determined.

"We'll see, we'll see," Cowser said.

Danny Coulombe shouldn't change. He struck out the side in the eighth and has worked five scoreless innings with one hit, no walks and eight strikeouts.

"He hasn't given up anything has he?" Hyde said. "That was really good today. He's been unbelievable for two years. This is the second year now. I never put him in easy spots and he seems to always come through. If not, he's going to give everything he's got out there. He's such a gamer, such a pro. With the multiple breaking balls that he has and be able to spin the ball, that's so unique. It's just such a tough look for a hitter. Throws a bunch of strikes with it. He's doing a great job."

* Santander fouled a ball off his lower right leg in the first inning and took a painful stroll around the plate, twice bending at the waist.

Hyde stepped out of the dugout and watched, but Santander got back in the box and popped up.

Santander is wearing a protective guard on the ankle. Austin Hays pinch-ran for him in the ninth.

* John Means makes his third rehab start with Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday afternoon against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Means allowed seven runs and six hits in an inning-plus on March 31 and one run and one hit in three innings on Saturday.

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