Richie Martin hasn’t gotten much chance recently to run the bases, one of several Orioles who have faced elongated slumps and hitless streaks in recent weeks. So when a bounce and a bobble gave the rookie shortstop the chance to flash his speed Friday night, he hustled all the way around the bases.
Martin provided the most electrifying moment of Friday’s 11-2 victory over the Boston Red Sox as he went the full 360 feet on an opposite-field triple and error by right fielder J.D. Martinez, an official scorer’s decision the only thing denying him the Orioles their first inside-the-park home run at Camden Yards. The second-inning sprint supplied only one of the six runs the Orioles scored off Boston left-hander David Price — the other five coming on home runs from Anthony Santander and Keon Broxton — as Price’s unblemished regular-season record in Oriole Park came to an end.
It took Martin 15.01 seconds to get around the bases, the fourth fastest home-to-home time by any player this season and the fastest by an Oriole since Statcast began tracking in 2015. Martin said he was preparing to slide into third when he saw third base coach José Flores step back and begin cranking his arm to send him home.
“You try not to miss him running because he’s just blazing fast," starting pitcher John Means said. “That kid is just so athletic and so fast. He’s just a freak athlete.”
“Everyone was pretty hyped up,” he said. “I think that’s what’s great about this team. No matter what you’re doing, well or poorly, they’ve always got your back. They’re happy for your own success.”
Price, who has spent part or all of every season of his career pitching for American League East teams, entered Friday with an 8-0 record and 2.72 ERA in 12 starts at Camden Yards. Santander quickly dampened any chance of improvement on either mark with a three-run home run in the first inning.
Martin’s mad dash provided Baltimore’s only run over the next two innings, but Broxton slugged his first home run since June 4, a two-run shot, off Price in the fourth. In the games between homers, Broxton had only two extra-base hits and 36 strikeouts in 67 at-bats.
Martin bunted for a single on the next pitch, recording his first multi-hit contest since June 25, just a game after snapping an 0-for-24 skid. He showed his speed again in the fifth by beating out a potential inning-ending double play with the bases loaded to bring home the latter of two runs in the frame. He added a leaping catch on a line drive in the eighth to complete his all-around day.
“It’s a special defender,” Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said. "He’s unbelievably athletic. It’s so impressive the way he doesn’t take his offense to his defense and continues to really contribute defensively every game he’s in there. That’s hopefully a game to build on.”
Broxton reached on an infield single during a three-run seventh for his first multi-hit game since June 14. Jonathan Villar, who hit a two-run single in the seventh to push the Orioles into double-digits, and Santander also had multiple hits, while every starting Oriole had at least one.
“For me, that was one of our better games of the year from all standpoints," Hyde said. "We pitched outstanding, we played really good defense, ran the bases well, and everybody contributed in the lineup, so it was just a fantastic game for us.”
Means does Means things
Hyde said before the game that Means wasn’t likely to draw any motivation from Red Sox manager Alex Cora not using him in the All-Star Game earlier this month, noting that Means was being held back to provide length if the exhibition went extra innings.
None were needed Friday, with Means showing Cora he would’ve been valuable in regulation, too. Coming off his worst outing since rejoining the rotation in late April, Means bounced back with a quality start, allowing two runs in six innings. In four starts against Boston, the left-hander has a 2.35 ERA.
“Did what John Means has done all year,” Hyde said. "Keep guys off balance. I love that he flashed more breaking balls tonight and located his fastball and gave us six great innings.”
The only damage came when Sam Travis tagged Means for a two-run home run in the second, the fourth longball Means had allowed in eight innings out of the All-Star break, but Means retired the next nine Red Sox. He finished his outing with four scoreless frames to bring his ERA back to 2.95.