BOSTON -- A quality start from Felix Doubront and a seventh-inning rally full of intrigue yielded the Red Sox a 4-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles before a sellout crowd of 37,689 Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park.
Here’s how it went down:
For Felix, a cat-like rebound: After a shaky start, Doubront found his groove in the middle innings.
Despite striking out the side in the first, Doubront labored through 29 pitches while the Orioles took a 1-0 lead on a Nelson Cruz RBI single to center, bounding past the dive of Red Sox shortstop Jonathan Herrera.
The lefty then went on to retire the next 13 Orioles, including shutting down the side in order in each of the next four innings, requiring just six pitches to retire the O’s in the fifth. Doubront also kept the K’s coming. After entering action with just eight on the season, Doubront finished the day with seven strikeouts.
Still, Doubront couldn’t quite navigate out of the inning untouched. After Adam Jones hit a two-out double and Chris Davis was hit by a 2-0 pitch, Cruz knocked in his second two-out RBI of the game on a grounder to third. Brock Holt, making his second straight start at the hot corner, made a strong throw from the hole that initially was ruled to be in time by crew chief Ted Barrett. However, after a 49-second review, it was ruled Cruz beat the throw to the bag and the Orioles had tied the score, 2-2.
Doubront was replaced by Junichi Tazawa with two outs in the seventh inning while taking a no-decision. He threw 106 pitches, 70 for strikes, while allowing five hits and two walks.
Tazawa, who worked a 1-2-3 eighth, was credited with the win (1-0), with Koji Uehara collecting his fourth save on the season, striking out the side after issuing a lead-off walk in the ninth.
Tempers flare, Sox rally: The Red Sox did push Norris from the game, however, after Holt’s one-out triple to the right field fence in seventh, scoring Mike Carp from first.
Holt’s second RBI in as many games since his recall from Triple-A Pawtucket came after a contentious sequence in the inning. Following Carp’s lead-off walk, Red Sox catcher David Ross tried to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Ross was apparently not amused with Norris’ inside pitches, taking steps toward the pitcher’s mound with the count standing at 3-1. After Orioles catcher Matt Weiters intervened, holding Ross at bay, both dugouts filtered onto the field before cooler heads prevailed.
Ross was unable to put down the sacrifice successfully, striking out before Holt’s triple.
Jonathan Herrera -- who made the start at shortstop, spelling Xander Bogaerts for the first time this season -- then laid down a safety squeeze that scored Holt for a 4-2 lead.
All “Buddy Buddy”: While Doubront turned in his second strong performance of the season against Baltimore, including his lone win on the season (which came April 3 at Camden Yards), the Red Sox were held largely in check by Orioles righty Bud Norris.
The Red Sox (8-10) knotted the score, 1-1, in the home half of the first, with Mike Napoli carving one off the edge of the bat down the line to third baseman Jonathan Schoop, who couldn’t corral the bleeder, allowing Dustin Pedroia to score from third on the error. David Ortiz then gave the Red Sox the lead, starting off the home half of the fourth with a line-drive home run inside Pesky’s Pole on a 3-2 offering.
Grady aces the corner: Grady Sizemore made his first start in right field as a member of the Red Sox and passed the initial test with flying colors.
He expertly played a slicing fly ball in the corner, just behind the foul pole, to retire Jones and the Baltimore side in the third. Then, with Davis leading off the fourth, Sizemore again battled a tricky, sinking line drive, making a shoestring catch.
A somewhat gloomy birthday: Saturday marked Jackie Bradley Jr.’s 24th birthday. However, the Red Sox center fielder struck out on his wishes at the plate, going 0-for-3, while grounding into a double play.