BOSTON — Steven Wright continued his marvelous first half, helping the Boston Red Sox back into a tie with the Baltimore Orioles atop the American League with a 6-4 victory Wednesday night.
The knuckleballer, who made the Red Sox rotation out of spring training only because of an injury to Eduardo Rodriguez, won his fifth straight start and raised his record to 8-4 with 7 1/3 strong innings as Boston evened the early first-place showdown at a game apiece.
Hanley Ramirez hit his first home run in a span of 105 at-bats since May 10, a three-run shot that left Fenway Park entirely in a five-run third inning. Ramirez also had a single and a walk for the Red Sox, who chased Orioles starter Kevin Gausman (0-4) in three innings.
Wright, who came into the game leading the American League with a 2.09 ERA, had it down to 1.93 before Adam Jones crushed a two-run homer in the sixth inning. Wright finished with a 2.22 ERA.
He left with a runner on first and Junichi Tazawa gave up an RBI double to Matt Wieters before Jonathan Schoop singled Wieters home. That created a save situation for Craig Kimbrel, who worked a perfect ninth for his 15th save.
Wright’s eighth win broke a three-way tie among him, David Price and Rick Porcello for the team lead in wins. He has allowed three earned runs over his last three starts and seven in 35 2/3 innings during his winning streak.
Xander Bogaerts and David Ortiz had two hits and an RBI apiece. Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia also two hits apiece for Boston with both Pedroia and Betts making outstanding fielding plays behind Wright.
Gausman worked a perfect first and a walk to Ramirez was the only baserunner through 1 2/3 innings. But seven of the next eight hitters collected hits, capped by Ramirez’s blast.
Travis Shaw doubled home a run in the second. Bogaerts and Ortiz delivered RBI singles before the Ramirez shot.
Wright pitched out of a jam in the inning and got a great diving play from Pedroia to aid a perfect fourth. Pedroia, playing to the left of the second base against Mark Trumbo, dove to his left for the shot up the middle and then threw Trumbo out.
NOTES: RHP Tyler Wilson will start the series finale for the Orioles on Thursday night. He will face former Baltimore farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez. The Boston left-hander beat the Orioles in his first start off the disabled list May 31, but has faltered since — both Thursday starters dreadful in their last two starts. “It’s all about consistent command,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Rodriguez. “It’s something he’s done in the past and something he did in his first start against the Orioles. He threw six quality innings in Baltimore and has shown it in a few other starts. It’s all about maintaining consistent command.”… SS J.J. Hardy will come off the disabled list either Friday or Saturday, while RHP Yovani Gallardo comes off the DL to start against the Toronto Blue Jays on Saturday and C Caleb Joseph begins a minor league rehab this weekend. … SS Nick Lovullo, the son of the Red Sox bench coach drafted in the 20th round of the recent draft, signed and will report to the Lowell Spinners, who open their season on Monday following a physical.