Spot starter Alec Asher, taking the ball for the second time this year for the Orioles, only had a few hiccups en route to another quality start, but he didn't leave Tuesday night's game with much else to show for his efforts.

Two mammoth home runs by Boston Red Sox veteran designated hitter Hanley Ramirez spoiled his chance at a victory and the Orioles ended up losing, 5-2.

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Asher left after six strong innings trailing 3-2, with the run that kept him in the running to pick up a loss coming on a home run in his last inning by Ramirez over the Green Monster — his second homer of the night.

The first, which opened the fourth inning, extended a Boston lead that was built in a rocky second inning for the young right-hander.

First baseman Mitch Moreland doubled off the left-field wall with one out and scored on a single by second baseman Dustin Pedroia.

Asher then issued his only walk of the night, and things looked like they had the potential to get out of hand, but he wiggled out of trouble and really got into only one other jam outside of the home runs to Ramirez.

With Chris Tillman making what is expected to be his final rehab start Tuesday night in Norfolk, Asher might not take the next turn through the rotation when his spot comes up again Sunday. As of now, that spot belongs to Tillman, Showalter said after the game.

But Asher has impressed.

"He's done his part and it's a nice depth piece for us at the worst," Showalter said. "He's certainly worthy of further consideration"

But if he ends up out of the rotation, he'll take with him a pair of quality starts against tough division opponents — the Toronto Blue Jays and Red Sox — on the road, even if he didn't have any wins as a starter to show for it.

"Really good, really impressed with him," Showalter said. "We were in a time of need of some innings. He had somewhat of a layoff, but he was solid. He's been impressive. He's got a good repertoire and I'm really proud of him. We needed him to give us some length tonight and he did, and in a tough situation. He's been good, huh?"

Said Asher: "I think it's a start. Quality starts, you can be happy with most of the time. But you know, I look to improve every outing and go from there."

Sale strong: Red Sox left-hander Chris Sale continued a dominant start to his season with a jaw-dropping start to the game against the Orioles. He struck out seven of the first nine batters he faced, and retired the first 13 Orioles he faced before a walk by first baseman Chris Davis in the fourth inning.

Sale allowed just two runs on three hits in eight innings, and closer Craig Kimbrel pitched a perfect ninth inning for the save.

Machado in the action again: One of those runs came on another towering home run by third baseman Manny Machado, his second in two games at Fenway Park, that cleared the Green Monster.

Just like Monday, when he was booed terribly by the home fans, he had reason to be extra-motivated. In the first inning, Sale threw a fastball behind his legs and earned warnings for both teams.

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Double Donnie: Left-handed reliever Donnie Hart had been charged with just one earned run over his first 26 major league innings entering Tuesday, but that didn't last. After allowing two singles over his four batters faced in the seventh inning, he gave way to Mychal Givens, who allowed a two-run double to right fielder Mookie Betts that put the Orioles in a 5-2 hole.

Closer Zach Britton made his return from the disabled list to pitch the eighth inning and got out of the inning with an improbable triple play.

Schoop scores from first again: For the second night in a row, second baseman Jonathan Schoop opened the Orioles' scoring with a hustling run, coming around from first base on a two-out double.

On Monday, it was a shot into left-center field by catcher Caleb Joseph. On Tuesday, left fielder Trey Mancini hit a similar ball into the gap.

jmeoli@baltsun.com

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