BOSTON -- The Red Sox at last had a lineup that resembled full strength, and they celebrated the occasion by riding a strong return to the mound by Thomas Pomeranz and a late outburst by the offense to an 8-1 victory over the Orioles in Tuesday night's opener of a two-game series.
It had been a tense, 2-1 game entering the bottom of the seventh when Baltimore created an opening for Boston with some shoddy defense.
Dustin Pedroia (two-run, seeing-eye single up middle) and Andrew Benintendi (hard, RBI single to right) capitalized in the three-run seventh, putting the Sox -- who had been plagued by a widespread flu for the last week -- in the driver's seat. The Sox scored three more in the eighth, led by a two-run triple by Christian Vazquez, who went 4-for-4. Pedroia finished with four RBIs.
"It was tough to watch the game on TV and not be there in Detroit," said designated hitter Hanley Ramirez, who played for the first time in six days. "At the same time, that's behind us, we put that away and we started to have fun with a win today."
Pomeranz, who was activated from the disabled list to make his first start, held the O's to four hits and a run over six-plus innings for his first career win at Fenway Park. The lefty walked one and struck out six.
"I was feeling really good today," Pomeranz said. "Figured out some things mechanically, timing wise, things I've been searching for all of spring and it finally all came together."
O's starter Dylan Bundy turned in a strong performance in a losing effort, scattering seven hits and yielding just two earned runs over 6 1/3 innings.
"I didn't have the fastball command very well so I was using my changeup and slider some in those hitters counts," Bundy said. "I felt like I was 2-0 to a lot of guys tonight. With the changeup I was able to get some ground balls and some double plays tonight."
The 15-hit attack was a welcome sight for a Boston team that battled to score runs while losing three of four in Detroit.
"We bunched a number of hits together late," Red Sox manager John Farrell said. "We found some holes. We were given a gift out to extend an inning. But still the one thing that didn't go away from us was the hustle down the line to get a couple base hits to extend an inning. And to see what Vazquy is doing here in the early going with just a couple of starts is a credit to him staying prepared and ready, particularly swinging the bat."
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
O's kick it around in 7th: After Orioles manager Buck Showalter went to side-winder Darren O'Day, it looked like Chris Young was about to hit into an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play with Baltimore trailing, 2-1. But shortstop J.J. Hardy bobbled the ball and he couldn't even get the force at second. Vazquez followed with a bloop into short center that second baseman Jonathan Schoop probably should have had, but it dropped in. It was ruled a single, loading the bases with one out, and creating a chance for the Red Sox to open a comfortable lead. More >
"I just missed a routine double-play ball," Hardy said. "Then they go ahead and score three that inning. Falling behind like that with their bullpen is not ideal. I just missed it. I was ready for it."
Pomeranz buckles down: When Adam Jones belted a one-out double out of the reach of a diving Mookie Betts in the sixth, Pomeranz faced a stiff challenge with Manny Machado and Mark Trumbo serving as Baltimore's next two hitters. The lefty answered by getting Machado on a popup to first and Trumbo on a fly ball into the corner in right that Betts chased down. In the second, the O's had runners on second and third and one out and couldn't cash in. More >
"Very powerful," Farrell said of Pomeranz. "Tonight maybe a little bit more power than anticipated. The action to his curveball was sharp and tight. Did a great job in the second inning when they get second and third with just one out. But just the overall power was very encouraging to see tonight from Drew."
"Totally, yeah. That's my first one. Get ready." -- Vazquez, after his first career stolen base, joking that he will become a threat on the bases
"Everybody in the league has a flu issue. I've had it. It's a different strain. It lingers for a long time. Some of them seem to be a little more noteworthy, it seems like it. Our guys have fought their way through it. We got a lot of guys who aren't 100 percent with it. So do other clubs. So, nobody really wants to hear somebody complain about it. Our guys have done a good job not broadcasting it to the world." -- Showalter
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
Vazquez became the first Red Sox catcher to record four-plus hits and steal a base in a game since Johnny Peacock on Sept. 21, 1938.
Orioles: Right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez will look to right the ship in the series finale on Wednesday after having a rough go of things in his season debut vs. the Yankees, where he allowed five runs on seven hits and walk. He is 1-3, with a 6.09 ERA in seven career starts at Fenway Park.
Red Sox: Knuckleballer Steven Wright will try to get in the type of groove he couldn't find in his first start, when he gave up seven hits and four runs over 6 2/3 innings in a no-decision against the Tigers. First pitch of the finale of this two-game series against the Orioles is set for Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. ET.
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