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Early HRs help Asher, O's leapfrog Red Sox

MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are back on track. After dropping 14 of 18, Baltimore picked up its third consecutive win on Friday night, using a solid start from Alec Asher and homers from Seth Smith and Manny Machado to beat the Red Sox, 3-2.

The victory moves the O's ahead of Boston by a half-game for second place in the American League East. The Orioles are now 21-11 against AL East opponents and are getting more contributions from their lineup stars.

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BALTIMORE -- The Orioles are back on track. After dropping 14 of 18, Baltimore picked up its third consecutive win on Friday night, using a solid start from Alec Asher and homers from Seth Smith and Manny Machado to beat the Red Sox, 3-2.

The victory moves the O's ahead of Boston by a half-game for second place in the American League East. The Orioles are now 21-11 against AL East opponents and are getting more contributions from their lineup stars.

View Full Game Coverage

"I struggled early on. The only thing I can do is stay high, stay positive and try and win games. At the end of the day, that's all that matters," said Machado, who homered to the second deck at Oriole Park at Camden Yards and has looked much better this series after snapping an 0-for-18 slump. "My stats are going to go up there eventually. I'm going to hit, so I've got to stay positive, stay right, stay playing the game the right way, hustle, keep a smile on my face, and try and win ballgames."

Red Sox starter Rick Porcello struggled early, allowing both Smith and Machado solo homers in the first, but he was able to last six innings and keep the Orioles to three runs. Porcello has now gone six or more innings in each of his last nine outings.

Video: BOS@BAL: Smith belts a leadoff homer to right field

Hyun Soo Kim got him for an RBI double in the fourth, capping Baltimore's scoring.

Video: BOS@BAL: Kim rips an RBI double to right field

"I thought as the game went along, he got much better," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "There was better action, better shape, better location to his stuff. Early on, an extended at-bat to Smith right off of the get-go, and a fastball leaks back over the middle of the plate for the first home run. He's in a stretch when he's making a mistake, or a mislocated pitch ... he's a little snake bit right now to be honest."

• Porcello settles down, but demands more

Asher, making his second start since being inserted into the rotation for Ubaldo Jimenez, went 6 1/3 innings and exited to a standing ovation. Asher allowed two runs -- one of which was Pablo Sandoval's homer -- on three hits and struck out five in his second win this season -- first as a starter.

Video: BOS@BAL: Sandoval hammers a solo homer to left field

"Awesome. That was probably one of the coolest things I've experienced," Asher said of walking off the mound with the Camden Yards faithful on their feet. "Just being able to hear the crowd cheer for you is great."

Video: BOS@BAL: Asher allows two through 6 1/3 solid frames

• Asher answers call for quality start

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
O'Day vs. Mookie: With the tying run in Sandy Leon on first base and two outs in the eighth, Mookie Betts dug in against Orioles setup man Darren O'Day. But Betts, who hit eight homers at Camden Yards last year, struck out to end the inning.

Video: BOS@BAL: O'Day whiffs Betts in the 8th inning

"Just got to continuously make opportunities," said Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. "We weren't out of the game. We were right there in it pretty much throughout the whole game. We just weren't able to get enough runs to edge them out tonight."

Sox run out of the seventh: With Asher out of the game, Bradley's RBI single off Mychal Givens brought Boston within a run. But Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph fired down to second to nab Bradley trying to steal, keeping the Red Sox there.

Video: BOS@BAL: Joseph throws out Bradley Jr. at second base

"Givens is a guy who can get long in his unloading time," said Farrell. "So as we're scuffling to get some stuff going, fourth pitch of the at-bat, had timed him up, forced him to throw a strike to second base. Unfortunately, the 90 feet didn't work out. We're looking to try and create something there."

QUOTABLE
"That's what I take out of watching the really top-shelf starters. It looks like that might be a 2- or 3- or 4-inning outing ... but you've got to do that against those guys. You'd better take your pops where you can, and when you squander a good run-scoring opportunity against those guys early, it usually doesn't bode well for you." -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter, on the early runs off Porcello

SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Machado is the only player in the Majors to have three home runs of 460 feet or more this season, according to Statcast™. He became the first Oriole to hit the second deck at Camden Yards since Mark Reynolds on Aug. 7, 2011, against Toronto.

WHAT'S NEXT
Red Sox: Left-hander David Price makes his second start since returning from the disabled list in Saturday's 7:15 p.m. ET contest against the Orioles. Price held his own in his season debut, allowing two hits and three runs over five innings while walking two and striking out four. He left with a 4-3 lead but wound up with a no-decision.

Orioles: Baltimore will send Dylan Bundy to the mound on Saturday night against Boston. Bundy picked up the first win for an Orioles starting pitcher since May 9 on Monday against the Yankees. In 6 2/3 innings, he allowed just two runs, but both were home runs.

Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live on MLB.TV.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Ian Browne has covered the Red Sox for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook.