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Leon homers twice in Boston's 9-run 5th

March 27, 2017

SARASOTA -- Sandy Leon had a two-homer afternoon, both of which came in the fifth inning, to lead the Red Sox to a 11-9 road win over the Orioles on Monday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium.The switch-hitting Leon started off the nine-run inning with a homer on Logan Verrett's 0-1

SARASOTA -- Sandy Leon had a two-homer afternoon, both of which came in the fifth inning, to lead the Red Sox to a 11-9 road win over the Orioles on Monday afternoon at Ed Smith Stadium.
The switch-hitting Leon started off the nine-run inning with a homer on Logan Verrett's 0-1 pitch. He struck again from the right side with his grand slam over the left-field wall against O's reliever Brian Moran.
"You want to feel good with how you're playing. I just went in there trying to keep it simple, trying to put the ball in play, put a good swing on it," said Leon, who is expected to start on Opening Day for the first time in his career on Monday at Fenway Park. "I wasn't trying to hit two homers. I was just trying to put a good swing on it."

In between Leon's homers, Mitch Moreland singled in a pair of runs to close Baltimore's lead to 5-4 and chase Verrett -- vying for the O's long reliever spot -- from the game. Center fielder Steve Selsky chipped in with an RBI single, after his homer in the top of the third inning off Orioles starter Tyler Wilson.
Wilson was solid otherwise, pitching four innings and allowing just two other hits with three strikeouts as he competes for a roster spot as the fifth starter or in the bullpen.
"Everything's always out of my hands, and that's kind of the way I approached the game especially, but life, too," Wilson said of his future.
"I tell you guys all the time, [I] control the controllables and really focus on the things I can. Whether I make the team or I don't, or whether I'm a starter or reliever, it doesn't impact my approach. I might alter my workload in between outings and such, but mentally, I'm just focused on what I can and trying to get better every day and really committed to being my best me in whatever role it is."

The Orioles got doubles from Welington Castillo and Trey Mancini to bring three runs across in the bottom of the fourth off Red Sox lefty Eduardo Rodriguez. Tabbed to be Boston's No. 3 starter to open the year, Rodriguez pitched six innings and allowed six runs (four earned) on nine hits and a walk with three strikeouts.
"I was feeling good," said Rodriguez. "Just in the fourth inning, I was missing the ball in the middle of the plate. And that's what happens when you miss the pitches in the middle of the plate."
Cedric Mullins hit a two-run homer for Baltimore in the bottom of the eighth against Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. In the ninth, Johnny Giavotella went yard off Richard Hembree.

Red Sox Up Next: Knuckleballer Steven Wright will try to continue his perfect Spring Training (0.00 ERA in three outings) when he starts Tuesday's 6:05 p.m. ET contest in Bradenton against the Pirates. Setup men Joe Kelly and Matt Barnes will also see action. The starting outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts will be on the trip, along with top reserve Chris Young. Catch the game live on MLB.TV.
Orioles Up Next:Wade Miley, who missed his previous start due to illness, will look to get back on track against Atlanta, with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. ET. The lefty will be opposed by Braves southpaw Jaime Garcia. Listen to the game live on Gameday Audio.
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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.