BOSTON — An Orioles offense that’s been wildly inconsistent this season broke out with some timely hitting Friday, ending a 13-game road losing streak that matched the longest in club history with a 7-4 win over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.
After squandering some early scoring opportunities, the Orioles used a pair of two-run, two-out singles, from Adam Jones and Manny Machado, as part of a four-run fourth inning to break a 1-1 tie.
The win, which was the Orioles’ first away from Camden Yards since April 8 at Yankee Stadium, halted a skid that tied the club record set by the 1988 Orioles from April 8-28 that year.
“They’re a heck of a team over there,” Machado said. “We had to battle them to the end, but to get the W was definitely huge. Hopefully we start a nice little [winning] streak now. … We really don’t think about [the losing streak], but at the end of the day, it’s there. It’s just there lingering on. You try to put it aside, but once you go out there, we tried to play the best baseball we can. Sometimes you lose, sometimes you win. At the end of the day, we’re trying to put stuff behind us and not think about those little things like that.”
A big reason the Orioles have fallen so deep into the American League East cellar has been their poor play on the road. Even after Friday’s win, the Orioles have the majors’ worst road record, having lost 17 of 21 away from Camden Yards this season.
On Friday, the Orioles (14-30) appeared headed for another uneven offensive performance. They had the bases loaded with one out in the first, but managed just one run on Mark Trumbo’s RBI groundout. They put runners on the corners with one out in the third, but were unable to score. Then, despite putting runners at second and third with no outs in the fourth inning, it looked as though the Orioles would come up empty again.
But after Trey Mancini drew a two-out walk to load the bases, Jones worked a patient at-bat, laying off two high fastballs from Boston lefty Drew Pomeranz (1-2) before hitting a two-run single to left on a 2-1 pitch.
Machado followed with a two-run single of his own, pounding a first-pitch delivery off the Green Monster in left to give the Orioles a 5-1 lead. Machado now leads the majors with 42 RBIs.
“I don’t know if you want to say [it boosts] morale or momentum,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Jones’ and Machado’s hits. “Just to say, ‘OK, we’re going to cash these in.’ It’s not as easy as it looks, with a man on third and one out, you just go up there and … Where we are so far in the season, guys get too much, they want to drive in two runs instead of one. I understand that.”
Second baseman Jonathan Schoop added some cushion with a solo homer over the Monster off knuckleballer Steven Wright in the seventh. After Boston cut the margin to 6-4 in the eighth, Trumbo’s RBI double to right-center in the top of the ninth provided a valuable insurance run.
Right-hander Alex Cobb (1-5) earned his first win with the Orioles in his seventh start, allowing three runs on eight hits over 6 1/3 innings despite allowing 11 base runners.
“I know the win is overrated, and it’s kind of not looked at that way anymore, but when you see a goose egg next to your name in the win column, it just kind of turns your stomach the wrong ways,” Cobb said. “It’s ugly. Baseball is a crazy game, and you could have won some of those games, but I believe that when you have the ball in your hand, you have the ability to win a ballgame. I love the win. I love that column next to your name when you feel like you really show that you put your team in a position to win multiple nights.”
Cobb made his first start with the Orioles on April 14 at Fenway Park, and failed to get out of the fourth inning after allowing eight runs (seven earned) on 11 base runners.
On Friday, Cobb overcame some middle-inning adversity. He allowed hits to four of the first five batters he faced in the fifth inning, allowing two runs as the Red Sox (30-15) cut the Orioles’ lead to 5-3. But after a mound visit by pitching coach Roger McDowell, Cobb induced an inning-ending double play ball from Hanley Ramírez to escape the inning.
“I thought the double play ball was huge, obviously,” Showalter said. “It’s just picking your poison in their lineup. They’ve got so many weapons. They’ve got a couple guys in a little different world than the rest of us right now, so you just try not to have anybody on base when they hit.”
Cobb, who was pulled with one out in the seventh after allowing a double to light-hitting catcher Christian Vázquez, has made quality starts in three of his past four outings. He owns a 3.38 ERA over his past four starts after starting the season with a 13.11 ERA in his first three outings.
“He did what we needed him to do, got us back in [the dugout] with the third out to [go out and] hit and he gave us an opportunity to play great defense behind him,” Machado said. “So hopefully he can carry that on to his next start and we’re going to need him if we’re going to make a push.”
The Orioles bullpen bent but didn’t break through some tense moments. Mychal Givens entered for Cobb in the seventh and won a nine-pitch at bat against Mookie Betts, getting him to ground out after he had a homer and two doubles against Cobb. But Givens was charged with an unearned run in the eighth when Mancini dropped a fly ball off the bat of Xander Bogaerts in the left-field corner for a two-base error. Bogaerts scored on Eduardo Núñez’s RBI double off lefty Richard Bleier to make it a 6-4 game.
Brad Brach entered with two outs and runners at the corners. He immediately walked pinch hitter Mitch Moreland, but induced a popup from Betts to strand the bases loaded.
Brach overcame a two-out double by J.D. Martinez to pitch a scoreless ninth for his sixth save of the season.