After two impressive wins over Tampa Bay in Baltimore, the Orioles were looking to continue their winnings streak in Boston on Friday night in Game 1 of a four game set.
Chris Tillman was on the mound for the O's which was a pleasing sign, given his impressive start to the season as well as his impressive career record against the Red Sox.
The Orioles jumped out to a one run lead early in the game after Nick Markakis doubled off the game's first pitch and Adam Jones brought him in with a 2-out infield single.
They then tacked on three more runs in the third to extend the lead to 4-0, after sending eight hitters to the plate. Jonathan Schoop, Markakis, Jones and Nelson Cruz all hit safely as the O's continued to hit well with RISP – something they lead the American League in doing.
The Red Sox, as always, are a fighting bunch and they scored in the bottom of the fourth when Brock Holt singled to center field, allowing Mike Carp to cross the plate.
Leading 4-1, the O's quickly responded in the fifth with some more impressive 2-out RISP hitting. Matt Wieters and JJ Hardy both had RBI singles as the O's extended their lead to 6-1.
Chris Tillman was labouring through the evening and he gave up a second run in the bottom of the fifth, an RBI single to Dustin Pedroia. Xander Bogaerts walked and AJ Pierzynski singled to add another run and the score was suddenly 6-3. With two out an two on, Tillman struck out Jackie Bradley Jr to complete the fifth having thrown 122 pitches. It was a tough outing for the Orioles ace, however his team had a three run lead when he exited the game.
The sixth was scoreless for both teams despite each having members reach base and as the top of the seventh arrived, the O's remained in control at 6-3.
They extended their lead to 7-3 in the seventh after having four hitters reach base, however only one scored thanks to Schoop's third hit of the night, a two-out double down the left field line. As they had done all night, the Red Sox immediately responded with their own pressure in the bottom half of the inning, as with Brian Matusz on the mound for his second innings of work, Mike Napoli lead off with a double to left field. Bogaerts singled and brought Napoli home to make it 7-4, however he was thrown out at second trying to record an extra base. Matusz would eventually strike out Bradley Jr looking to end the seventh with the O's still comfortably ahead.
In the eighth, Chris Davis, Jones and Cruz were retired in order for the O's and the ball was back in the hands of Matusz to shut down the Sox hitters in the bottom half of the inning. He allowed a lead off single to Holt courtesy of an umpire review, but quickly recorded two ground outs after that, keeping Holt to second base. Darren O'Day entered the game to face Pedroia and recorded the ground out to end the threat and send the teams to the ninth with the O's ahead 7-4.
Steve Lombardozzi recorded his second hit of the night before that man again, Jonathan Schoop, doubled to center field allowing the O's to take an 8-4 lead. O'Day came out to resume in the ninth and worked around walk to Carp to eventually close out the game and give the O's the win.
For the winners, Schoop (4-5), Markakis (2-5), Jones (2-5), Lombardozzi (2-5) and Hardy (2-5) lead offensively as the team recorded 15 hits.
The O's record is now back above .500 at 8-7 and they remain right in the thick of things in the highly competitive American League East.