BALTIMORE — Trey Mancini and Jonathan Schoop hit back-to-back homers the first time they faced Boston knuckleballer Steven Wright earlier this season. They pulled the same trick when they saw Wright again Saturday.
Mancini and Schoop’s home runs sparked a four-run fourth inning as the Baltimore Orioles gave starter Jayson Aquino his first major league win with a 4-2 victory, extending the team’s winning streak to four games.
The Orioles (12-4) have hit consecutive home runs twice this season — with Mancini and Schoop doing it both times.
“He was a little more on today, I’d say, especially early on,” Mancini said of Wright. “It was very challenging. Luckily, my second at-bat, he just left one up that I put a good swing on.”
The first time it happened, at Fenway Park, it was part of a six-run first inning. Mancini belted a three-run shot that night followed by Schoop’s solo shot.
This time, Mancini tied the game with a two-run homer before Schoop followed and gave Baltimore the lead for good in the fourth.
That power helped Aquino (1-0) in his first major league start. The left-hander gave up two runs on six hits in six innings and needed to escape jams in each of his last three innings.
Still, he made pitches when needed and came away with that first victory.
“I think you saw some of the things that we liked about him,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “He doesn’t lack for … I don’t want to say ‘confidence.’ He’s one of those guys who says, ‘Here’s mine and see what you can do with it.’ “
Aquino, filling in as the No. 5 starter as the Orioles are short because of Chris Tillman being on the disabled list, enjoyed the experience.
“I feel very happy,” Aquino said through a translator. “It’s an incredible feeling what I’m feeling right now. I just tried to make my pitches. I was just following the lead of my catcher (Caleb Joseph).”
Mychal Givens came on after Aquino and threw two perfect innings of relief. Donnie Hart got the first two outs in the ninth before hitting Marco Hernandez, and Darren O’Day closed it and earned his first save as the Orioles used a closer by committee since Zach Britton is on the disabled list, and Brad Brach had pitched three straight nights.
Wright (1-2) took the loss for Boston (10-8), giving up four runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings. He blanked the Orioles in the first three innings before everything fell apart in the fourth.
“I felt good at the beginning,” Wright said. “They hit mistakes, and I think that’s what makes them good.
The Red Sox took a 2-0 lead in the third when Jackie Bradley Jr. belted a two-run home run to right. Xander Bogaerts walked with one out, and Bradley followed with his first homer this season.
Adam Jones made it 4-2 with a single that knocked Wright out. The knuckleballer scattered three hits in the first three innings but allowed four runs on six hits in the fourth.
The Red Sox, who came into this series with an American League-best .282 average, were shut out in Friday’s opener. They are 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the series.
“There’s been a number of times we’ve expanded the zone,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “We’ve chased some pitches down below the zone. We’ve chased some pitches off (and) away.”
NOTES: LHP Zach Britton is going to see a hand specialist Monday but the Orioles do not expect much trouble from that visit. After that doctor says everything is all right, Britton will start throwing again. … C Caleb Joseph got his first hit and scored his first run this season. The Baltimore backup came into the game 0-for-12 but went 2-for-3. … Boston manager John Farrell said LHP David Price (left elbow strain) felt good Saturday after his first bullpen session Friday. The skipper said they will re-evaluate Sunday and decide when Price throws next. … Farrell said they will also see if 2B Dustin Pedroia (left knee/ankle) can play Sunday after he missed Saturday’s game. … The game was delayed 28 minutes at the start because of rain.