BOSTON (AP) — Steven Wright was just hoping for a chance to stay in the big leagues. Now, the Boston knuckleballer is one of the hottest pitchers.
Wright was solid again, this time pitching into the eighth inning and helping the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-4 on Wednesday night.
“There’s a lot of confidence by all of us when he takes the mound and he’s earned that,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “We have trust in him because of his consistency.”
Wright (8-4) allowed three runs and six hits, struck out four, walked one and hit two batters. He entered with an AL-best ERA that rose slightly from 2.09 to 2.22 by holding an opponent to three or fewer runs for the 12th time in his 13 starts. Eleven times he’s allowed two or fewer.
Coming into spring training, it looked like his best shot was as a long reliever out of the bullpen because he was out of minor-league options. But an injury to left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez gave Wright his shot in the rotation.
“The fact that I’m in the big leagues is unbelievable,” the 31-year-old righty said. “I just try to go out there enjoy it and have fun.”
Hanley Ramirez hit his first homer in more than a month, and Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz each had two singles and an RBI for the Red Sox, who rebounded from a 3-2 loss in the series opener on Tuesday for just their fourth win in 11 games.
Adam Jones hit a two-run homer for the Orioles, who ended a stretch of five straight multi-homer games.
Kevin Gausman (0-4) gave up six runs and seven hits in three innings for Baltimore.
“I think just falling apart and not being able to throw my secondary pitches for strikes,” Gausman said when asked what went wrong.
Leading 1-0 in the third, the Red Sox batted around and scored five runs. Bogaerts and Ortiz opened the scoring with consecutive RBI singles.
Ramirez then hit first-pitch slider over the Green Monster completely out of Fenway Park for his first homer since May 10, ending a homerless drought of 110 at-bats.
“He had too good stuff to give up six runs,” Baltimore manager Buck Showalter said.
Jones homered into the Monster seats with two outs in the seventh.
Wright was lifted after a one-out walk in the eighth. Matt Wieters and Jonathan Schoop had consecutive run-scoring hits off Junichi Tazawa.
Craig Kimbrel got the final three outs for his 15th save.
Travis Shaw’s RBI single in the second made it 1-0.
Orioles: Showalter said SS J.J. Hardy (fractured left foot) could be back with the club Friday. He had two singles in three at-bats for Double-A Bowie in his first rehab game on Tuesday. … Showalter also said RHP Darren O’Day (strained hamstring) may not be ready to come off the DL on Sunday when he’s eligible.
Red Sox: RHP Joe Kelly, demoted to Triple-A Pawtucket earlier this month, is still only throwing on flat ground after he sustained a groin injury in a Triple-A start on June 7.
FLASH THAT LEATHER
Boston made four nice plays in the field.
Second baseman Dustin Pedroia made a pair of sliding stops, third baseman Shaw dove to his right for a hard grounder and RF Mookie Betts had a running over-the-shoulder grab.
CLIMBING FENWAY’S RBI LIST
Ortiz drove in his 803rd run in Fenway, passing Hall of Famer Jim Rice for third-most in the park.
Orioles: RHP Tyler Wilson (2-5, 4.73 ERA) is in line to start the series finale on Thursday. He’s allowed 10 runs on 14 hits in 9 2/3 innings over his last two starts.
Red Sox: LHP Rodriguez (1-1, 6.06) is slated to make his fourth start of the season after opening on the DL with a right knee injury.
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