BOSTON— In their first 10 road games, the Orioles have managed to win two of three at Yankee Stadium, another two of three in Toronto, and just concluded a split of their four-game series at Fenway Park.
The Orioles beat the Boston Red Sox, 8-1, in a Patriots’ Day game that began shortly after 11 a.m.
The unusual starting time agreed with the Orioles, who have been scheduled for four of the past six Patriots’ Day games. Last year’s was rained out.
Dwight Smith Jr. drove in a career-high four runs with a two-run homer and a two-run double.
Renato Nunez had three hits, and Trey Mancini had two. Chris Davis hit his first home run.
The Orioles began the season 4-2 on the road, then lost six of seven at Oriole Park, and now have a 7-10 record. Boston, which won the World Series last season, has started 6-11.
“I like the way we play the game,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’re 7-10, and it could easily be flipped around, and we could have a few more wins.
“I like the way that we’re competing, and I think our pitching staff is going to continue to improve, our bullpen guys are going to continue to improve. I like at-bats that we take, and I like the defense that we play. We stay in games.
“…I love the fact that when we had the lead today, we continued to battle, continued to take really good at-bats, not kind of cruise into the end of the game, but actually continue to score, and that’s what good teams do.”
Davis has been around for a number of special moments at Fenway, including pitching two innings for a win in May 2012.
“Any time you play a division opponent — especially in New York, Toronto’s tough, and obviously here — if you can at least halve a four-game series or win a three-game series, it’s huge,” Davis said. “It’s huge early on, it’s big late—it doesn’t matter the time of year. In this division, if you get buried early, it’s tough to catch up. For us to come here and split, it’s big for us.”
Straily gets the win: Dan Straily entered the game with a 19.29 ERA, having allowed 10 runs in his first 4 2/3 innings with the Orioles.
Straily allowed a run on two hits in five innings. Pitching coach Doug Brocail told him, “That’s more of what I was expecting.”
Straily signed with the Orioles on April 5, and pitched for the first time days two later after his March 25 release from Miami. After he allowed five runs in 3 1/3 innings on April 10, he said it felt like it was still spring training.
“Other than having a pitch count, I think it felt more like a regular-season game where I didn’t feel like there was a leash getting ready to be pulled on,” Straily said.
Straily knew his pitch count would be about 80, and when he got to 86, knew he’d be out of the game.
“Hopefully, after this one I’m just going to be let go and just get a chance to get out there and keep pitching,” Straily said.
For the first time this season, the Orioles did not allow a home run, and they remain tied with the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies, who also gave up homers in each of their first 16 games. The Orioles did allow a record 40 homers over the 16 games.
The four hits given up the Orioles marked a season low.
Davis gets first homer: For the first time since last August 24, Davis homered. His two-run home run, which traveled 408 feet, was hit to right. Boston right fielder J.D. Martinez didn’t move after Davis’ blast.
Davis ended his 0-for-54 record hitless streak on Saturday, and now has a homer, eight RBIs and an .089 batting average.
“The timing was getting a little bit better, and even in the at-bats that I didn’t get a hit or get on base, I felt like I was seeing a lot of pitches,” Davis said.
“I wasn’t just going up there and hacking, or taking strikes. I felt like I was solid with my approach throughout each and every at-bat.”
His last home run before Monday came against former teammate Zack Britton.
Hyde gets ejected: Hyde was ejected in the fifth inning when he argued with crew chief Mark Wegner after a replay challenge went against the Orioles.
Rafael Devers slid into second baseman Jonathan Villar on a relay throw, and Hyde thought that the Orioles should have been awarded a double play. Hyde challenged the ruling, and the original call stood.
“I just saw the runner slide past the base and not maintain contact with the base, and I’ve seen it called so many different ways,” Hyde said. “I just totally disagree with the ruling in New York. I understand I’m going to get ejected there.
“I just want clarity on how that’s possible, that a guy slides past the base, doesn’t maintain contact with the base, goes up into our fielder. If Villar’s not there, he slides five feet past the base. Why isn’t that a double play and the runner goes back to third base? I’ve had it called against us on the teams I’ve been with a few times, and I didn’t understand the ruling today.”
Karns update: Nate Karns, who is on the 10-day injured list because of a strained right forearm, is throwing again and will have a bullpen session in the next few days. He and Mark Trumbo, who is recovering from knee surgery, will be with the team when it plays the Tampa Bay Rays beginning on Tuesday.
Hyde is being conservative with Karns, who was signed as a starter but was shifted to a bullpen role during camp.
“I don’t want him to give us length,” Hyde said. “I just want him to be a good bullpen arm for us.”
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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