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O's knuckle up, use HRs to beat Wright, Sox

MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- The first-place Orioles continued to feast on Steven Wright's knuckleball on Saturday, with Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop hitting back-to-back homers for the second time this month off the Red Sox righty in a 4-2 series-clinching win.

Baltimore, the team with the best record in baseball, improved to 12-4, while Boston lost back-to-back games for just the second time this season.

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BALTIMORE -- The first-place Orioles continued to feast on Steven Wright's knuckleball on Saturday, with Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop hitting back-to-back homers for the second time this month off the Red Sox righty in a 4-2 series-clinching win.

Baltimore, the team with the best record in baseball, improved to 12-4, while Boston lost back-to-back games for just the second time this season.

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Wright, who was knocked around for eight earned runs while recording just four outs against the Orioles on April 12, lasted 3 2/3 innings and gave up four runs on nine hits in his second showing.

"He's going to get it going. This guy, for a while they were talking Cy Young with him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of Wright. "We've seen the best of him, and we've been fortunate to catch him before he's really got it going. It started out early. You see those weak fly balls off the end of the bat, it doesn't usually bode well for you. But it seemed like he may have lost the feel for it a little bit in that [fourth] inning."

Video: BOS@BAL: Schoop crushes back-to-back homer

With the Orioles trailing, 2-0, in the bottom of the fourth, Mancini's first-pitch homer -- his fifth dinger on the year -- tied the game at 2, with Schoop following to give Baltimore its first lead. Wright exited after Adam Jones' RBI single.

Video: BOS@BAL: Jones' single plates one

"I think I'm coming into my own power-wise. It's just something where when you get older, you hope kind of happens more frequently," Mancini said of his hot start. "Luckily, that's happening. You don't think about hitting home runs. I never think about it when I'm up to the plate, or at least when I hit them, I'm not thinking about it a lot of times. If I go astray, it's because I'm thinking a little too much about driving the ball far. It's just something you approach it and you want to put a good swing on the ball, and it's something that just happens."

The O's backed a strong showing from rookie starter Jayson Aquino, who pitched six innings and held Boston to Jackie Bradley Jr.'s two-run homer in his first career start. That was Bradley's first homer this season and came one day after he came off the disabled list.

Video: BOS@BAL: Bradley Jr. crushes a two-run shot to right

"I'm just trying to put the bat on the ball," Bradley said. "With missing time, you just try and stay in a rhythm and put some good swings on some balls."

• AL's top hitting team not taking advantage

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Back-to-back, again: Wright had an easy time in the first three innings before succumbing to back-to-back homers by Mancini and Schoop again. Those two shots put the Orioles ahead for good. Wright now has given up 12 runs in his two starts versus the Orioles.

Video: BOS@BAL: Mancini hammers a two run shot to left

"Obviously, I felt pretty good at the beginning and then one inning kind of got away from me," Wright said. "It's just not really moving. It's something I've definitely been aware of, and I've been trying to work on it."

Aquino solid in debut: Tabbed for the spot start after an impressive spring, the lefty held his own. Aquino struck out two and allowed only two runs, giving Baltimore its fourth consecutive quality start. Saturday marked Aquino's fourth career big league appearance.

Video: BOS@BAL: Aquino holds Red Sox to two in first start

"It's been a tough process. I've been through a few organizations right now," Aquino said through interpreter Ramon Alarcon. "But I'm just thankful to the Orioles for this opportunity and allowing me to start a game at the Major League level." More >

QUOTABLE
"He had a changeup he got hurt on and a slider to Bradley. But I'm glad you keep an open mind, because what I saw on a quick look last year didn't match up with what we saw in the spring. You kind of lean on what your guys who have seen him consistently down below say. So I was glad to see what everybody was talking about." -- Showalter, on Aquino

WHAT'S NEXT
Red Sox: Eduardo Rodriguez starts in the finale of this three-game series on Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET. Rodriguez has two starts and allowed seven runs in 10 1/3 innings over two starts, but he threw a scoreless inning of relief in his last appearance, versus the Blue Jays on Wednesday. Rodriguez came to the Red Sox in a 2014 trade with the Orioles.

Orioles: Kevin Gausman will take the mound for Sunday's series finale. The righty is coming off his worst start of the season and one of the worst of his career on Tuesday in Cincinnati, where he allowed eight runs in 2 2/3 innings. Gausman, the O's Opening Day starter, will look to bounce back after having just one quality start his first four games.

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Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Read her blog, Britt's Bird Watch, follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Jeff Seidel is a contributor to MLB.com and covered the Red Sox on Saturday.