It’s not bucking convention on purpose, but in hitting the trio of Austin Hays, Hanser Alberto and José Iglesias at the top of their order, the Orioles don’t have a group of patient hitters setting the table.
They’re simply the productive ones, at least on days like Saturday when their aggression is rewarded.
That group combined for six hits and scored four runs while generating every Orioles rally in a 7-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Saturday at Fenway Park. They combined with with an eye-opening start from veteran Alex Cobb to serve as a palate cleanse after the Orioles’ disastrous Opening Day loss Friday.
The trio came to the plate 15 total times and saw just 41 pitches — fewer than three per at-bat. It turns out they weren’t punished for not waiting.
Four pitches into the game, the Orioles already had runners on second and third with no outs when Hays singled and Alberto doubled. Both scored when Renato Núñez doubled with two outs to give the Orioles an early lead, and Núñez scored on an error a batter later.
By the time they came up a second time, there were two on and no one out again. Alberto and Iglesias each had run-scoring singles — with each on the second pitch of his at-bat — and the Orioles built an early 5-0 lead.
The offense got quiet after that as Martin Pérez settled in for the Red Sox, and the Orioles didn’t have another hit until the seventh inning. Hays changed that with an 0-1 single before he was forced out on an 0-1 groundout by Alberto. But Iglesias singled quickly and both runners scored on a double by Anthony Santander.
Alberto rounded out the day with a ninth-inning single.
Cobb comes through
Opening Day wasn’t a promising day for the Orioles’ pitching staff. Cobb, making his first start in over a year after missing most of 2019 due to hip surgery, more than made up for it.
With impeccable fastball command and an effective split-changeup, the veteran right-hander pitched into the sixth inning and struck out six with only one blemish — a home run by Mitch Moreland.
Top relievers come through
Cobb’s exit in the sixth inning brought some tense moments as three hits and some sloppy defense behind reliever Paul Fry brought the tying run to the plate at 5-2 for Miguel Castro.
Castro, however, struck out pinch-hitter Xander Bogaerts on three pitches. Left-hander Richard Bleier, featuring a swing-and-miss slider that he hasn’t featured before, struck out two in 1 2/3 innings.
Mychal Givens got the final four outs, allowing one hit and striking out two.
ORIOLES @ RED SOX
Sunday, 1:35 p.m.
O’s starter: LHP Wade LeBlanc (6-7, 5.71 ERA in 2019)
Sox starter: RHP Ryan Weber (2-4, 5.09 ERA in 2019)
TV: MASN2 Radio: 105.7 FM
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