BALTIMORE (AP) — J.D. Martinez got back to into a long-ball groove with a milestone homer that set the tone for Boston’s potent offense.
Martinez hit his 200th career home run, Xander Bogaerts added a solo shot and Mitch Moreland capped the power surge with a three-run drive that carried the Red Sox past the Baltimore Orioles 8-5 Tuesday night.
After having their run of six straight games with a long ball snapped by Baltimore one night earlier, the Red Sox scored their first six runs on homers and won for the seventh time in nine games.
Martinez got things started with a two-run drive in the first inning, ending a run of 62 at-bats without a homer — his longest dry spell since the 2014 season. Boston manager Alex Cora appreciated the shot to center for a different reason.
“He thought I was congratulating him because it was 200, but it was actually because it was his first one (of five) against a righty this season,” Cora said. “It was good to see it.”
His teammates followed suit. After being limited to one run on Monday night, Boston doubled that total in the first inning alone.
“Obviously J.D.’s homer getting us on the board gave us a head start,” Moreland said.
Martinez figures it’s only a matter of time before he starts sending the ball deep on a regular basis.
“It’s just me grinding on my swing every day. I feel like once I get it closer to what I’ve had over the last two years, they’ll start coming,” Martinez said. “You can’t really worry about it. If they come, they come.”
After Bogaerts connected in the fourth, Moreland’s team-leading 10th home run, off rookie Branden Kline (1-1), put Boston ahead 6-3 in the fifth.
After Baltimore closed to 6-5, Martinez hit a sacrifice fly to cap a two-run ninth.
Rio Ruiz hit a two-run drive and Hanser Alberto had a bases-empty homer for the Orioles, who fell to 3-3 against the Red Sox but were right there until the ninth.
“Absolutely,” Ruiz said. “It’s a tough team to go against, but you know we’re right there with them, every day.”
Boston starter Hector Velázquez gave up two runs in three innings and Marcus Walden (5-0) allowed one run through the sixth. Brandon Workman followed with a perfect seventh and has not allowed a hit to the last 35 batters he’s faced.
Ryan Brasier gave up two runs in the eighth before Matt Barnes got the last four outs for his third save in five tries.
Hitting has been a struggle for Baltimore first baseman Chris Davis this season, but his skill in the field has been a plus.
With runners on second and third with one out in the Boston fourth, the Orioles pulled the infield in. Christian Vázquez hit a sharp grounder that Davis snagged after diving to his right. Still prone, Davis flipped the ball underhanded behind his back to Jonathan Villar, who came over from second base to get the out at first.
In addition, Boston center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. and right fielder Mookie Betts both made diving catches of sinking liners in the sixth inning.
Red Sox: LHP David Price (elbow tendinitis) was “feeling good” after throwing the ball Tuesday, Cora said. Though Price didn’t throw off a mound, it was the first time he tossed a baseball since facing the White Sox last Thursday. … LH reliever Brian Johnson (elbow) threw 15 pitches on the mound Tuesday and hopes to pitch a simulated game over the weekend.
Orioles: RHP Nate Karns visited Dr. James Andrews in Florida on Monday to get an assessment on his lingering forearm tightness. An MRI came back clean, and Karns should resume throwing in 7-to-10 days.
Red Sox: Back in a groove after a poor April, Chris Sale (1-5, 5.25 ERA) brings an 11-inning scoreless streak into Wednesday night’s series finale.
Orioles: Andrew Cashner (4-1, 4.71) makes his eighth start of the season, looking to win his fifth straight decision, a streak that includes an April 13 victory at Fenway Park.
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