BALTIMORE (AP) — Alejandro De Aza is fitting right in with his new team. In his fifth game with the slugging Baltimore Orioles, he hit two homers.
Those shots in the first and third innings were plenty as the Orioles won for the 10th time in 13 games with a 4-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night.
Adam Jones added a solo homer, giving him at least 25 for the fourth straight season, as the AL East leaders increased their major league-leading total to 191 homers.
“I want to be part of that,” said De Aza, who had five homers in 126 games before being obtained from the Chicago White Sox on Aug. 31. “I wasn’t looking for those home runs, but it’s coming and I’ll take it.”
The Orioles are 23-0 when they hit at least three homers, a correlation manager Buck Showalter couldn’t explain. But, he said: “I like anything that dictates you’re 23-0 in it.”
The Orioles maintained their 10-game lead over the Toronto Blue Jays, who beat the Chicago Cubs 9-2. The New York Yankees fell 11 games behind Baltimore after losing to the Tampa Bay Rays 4-3. Baltimore’s magic number for clinching the division dropped to nine.
“Until it’s at zero and we’ve clinched a spot, we’ve got something to do,” Jones said.
Chris Tillman (12-5) gave up one run in five innings, the 18th straight start in which he allowed three earned runs or fewer. Zach Britton pitched the ninth for his 34th save in 38 opportunities.
Last-place Boston is a season-high 22 1/2 games out of first one year after winning the World Series.
The three homers came off rookie Anthony Ranaudo (3-2). He left after allowing four runs and six hits in 3 1-3 innings.
“He didn’t get away with many mistakes,” Boston manager John Farrell said.
The Orioles led 2-0 before making an out. Nick Markakis led off the first with a walk before De Aza homered into the Red Sox bullpen in right field.
Baltimore began the third with back-to-back homers by De Aza, his seventh of the season, and Jones.
Boston’s run came in the fourth on Xander Bogaerts’ 10th homer.
The Red Sox loaded the bases with one out in the fifth, but David Ortiz grounded into a double play to drop to 2 for 24 in his career against Tillman.
“Any time you can get a guy like that out on a pretty consistent basis, I figure you’re doing something right,” Tillman said.
Boston threatened in the ninth when Bogaerts led off with a walk and went to third on a double by Carlos Rivero. Bogaerts, however, was out trying to score on the hit after right fielder Markakis’ throw to third rolled away.
“If I score right there, we’re only down two and everyone’s cheering,” Bogaerts said. “I immediately took off and thought I had a clear shot.”
Orioles: SS J.J. Hardy missed his fourth straight game with lower back spasms. No structural damage was found Tuesday during his visit to the team orthopedist in Baltimore, where he had an MRI and a cortisone injection in his back. Showalter hopes Hardy can play Friday when the Orioles face the New York Yankees in a doubleheader.
Red Sox: Dustin Pedroia sat out with soreness in his left wrist and left hand, and Farrell said the 2B could miss the rest of the season. … Brock Holt missed his fourth straight game because of illness and is expected to replace Pedroia in the field once he is healthy. … 3B Will Middlebrooks left with an illness in the sixth and was replaced by Rivero.
The Orioles go for a sweep of the three-game series Wednesday night when they send Wei-Yin Chen (14-4) to the mound against Brandon Workman (1-8).
Chen is 2-2 with a 5.79 ERA in six starts at Boston. Workman allowed one hit in 6 2-3 innings on June 10 in his only career start against Baltimore.
DAZZLING DE AZA
De Aza also doubled and walked in five plate appearances, his first career game with three extra-base hits. He is 8 for 20 with hits in all five games since joining the Orioles.
Ranaudo had little to celebrate on his 25th birthday, and Middlebrooks didn’t even finish the game on his 26th birthday.
“He complained of some nausea, lightheadedness,” Farrell said.
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