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Wade LeBlanc’s solid debut helps Orioles beat Red Sox, 7-4, earn series win in Boston

With the way they lost on Opening Day setting the tone, it would have been hard to imagine the Orioles winning as simply as they did the last two days. But they have.

With another productive day from shortstop José Iglesias, a nice effort from debuting left-hander Wade LeBlanc and home runs from Rio Ruiz and Anthony Santander, the Orioles had enough for a 7-4 win over the Boston Red Sox that improves their record to 2-1 and gives them a series win on the first weekend of the season for the second year in a row.

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“Series wins are huge, and they’ll carry you,” LeBlanc said. “Baseball’s a big confidence game, and series wins are big, especially when you come in a place like this against a team like the Red Sox. It’s definitely nice to get that first game out of the way, come back and show some resilience.”

LeBlanc, one of a handful of veteran pitchers the Orioles signed in the spring to give them consistency in their starting rotation, held up his end of that bargain the same way Alex Cobb did Saturday.

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The 35-year-old left-hander kept the Red Sox off-balance all day, allowing only a pair of solo home runs in the early innings before having two more runs charged to his account after leaving the game in the sixth inning.

More importantly, he contributed 5⅔ innings to the Orioles’ second straight game without issuing a walk.

“The key is the no walks in two days,” manager Brandon Hyde said.

”Before the game, we talked about Wade LeBlanc and what we would like him to do, and he did exactly that, which was pitch to both sides of the plate, change speeds, front-door cutter, back-door cutters, changeup off of that, pitching inside, pitching ahead, and we played some nice defense behind him as well,” Hyde said.

Another fast start

Another strong day at the top of the Orioles’ lineup meant they didn’t wait long to build a lead. Iglesias singled with two outs in the first inning and scored on Ruiz’s second home run in as many games.

Iglesias doubled in a run in the third inning, and Santander’s first home run of the season highlighted a three-run fourth inning that had the Orioles up 6-1.

The Orioles had plenty of chances to capitalize on early base runners in the later innings, including with the rest of Iglesias’ season-high four hits, but their inability to build on the lead wouldn’t be punished.

Chris Davis’ first hit of the season, a run-scoring double in the ninth inning, rounded out the scoring.

Fool me once…

Hyde called Miguel Castro striking out Xander Bogaerts on three pitches with the tying run at the plate to end the sixth inning Saturday the biggest out of the game. With two on and two out in the sixth inning and a 6-2 lead, Hyde called Castro’s number again — but Bogaerts was ready.

The Orioles started Bogaerts off with back-to-back inside fastballs, and he pulled the second down the left-field line for a two-run single.

The rest of the day, however, went much like Saturday did. Without top relievers Richard Bleier and Mychal Givens, the Orioles still got three scoreless innings of relief from Castro, Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser to close out the game.

Sulser, a waiver claim at the end of last season, picked up his first career save with two scoreless innings.

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One out, boys

For as happy as he was to start the season with a series win, Hyde was less impressed with the Orioles on the bases. Hanser Alberto was doubled off second base when he ran with one out on an infield fly Saturday, and Davis took off on a fly ball to left field with one out to end the ninth inning Sunday,

“I would like to clean up the not knowing how many outs there are,” Hyde said. “That’s got to stop ASAP. That’s unacceptable. We’ve run ourselves out of two innings with that, and we’re not going to beat teams consistently by doing that. That’s not in the Orioles manual.”

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