BALTIMORE — Just ahead of the summer heat, the Boston Red Sox are warming up to the idea of bashing their way into contention for another trip to the playoffs.
J.D. Martinez hit two of Boston’s season-high six home runs , and the Red Sox staged another impressive power display at the expense of the Baltimore Orioles’ beleaguered pitching staff in a 13-2 rout Friday night.
One night after slamming five homers against Texas, Boston went one better against the dreadful Orioles, who yielded 17 hits to Toronto on Thursday night.
Brock Holt got the Red Sox rolling with a two-run drive in the second inning, his first home run in 62 plate appearances this season. Christian Vazquez and Martinez went deep in the fourth inning, and Jackie Bradley Jr., Michael Chavis and Martinez connected off Dan Straily in a five-run fifth for an 11-1 lead.
“For us, it’s getting good weather,” manager Alex Cora said. “It’s been cold in Boston, and sometimes the ball doesn’t carry. I know we haven’t scored runs and hit with men in scoring position, but certain guys are getting close to who they are.”
Bradley said of the two-game power surge: “It’s a good sign.”
Eduardo Rodriguez (7-4) allowed one run and six hits over seven innings. The left-hander, who started his professional career in the Orioles organization, leads Boston in wins this season.
Though the defending World Series champions are waffling in third place in the AL East, they might be ready to make a move. The Red Sox have won three straight, own a five-game road winning streak and still have two games left in this series against the team with the worst record in the big leagues.
“We haven’t even been close to who we are. That’s a cool thing,” Cora said. “For as bad or inconsistent — whatever you want to call it — as we’ve been, we’re in the hunt.”
The Orioles burned through the bullpen on Thursday and lost Friday’s scheduled starter, Andrew Cashner, to a blister. So Baltimore recalled Luis Ortiz from Triple-A Norfolk to pitch in his third big league game and summoned reliever Josh Rogers from the same minor league club.
Ortiz (0-1) gave up four runs, four hits and five walks in 3 1/3 innings. He was followed by Straily — who surrendered four homers and seven runs in 1 1/3 innings — and Rogers, who pitched the final 4 1/3 innings.
“We had very limited options tonight, honestly,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We were going to try to somehow navigate through with Ortiz, Dan and Rogers.”
Ortiz was optioned back to Norfolk after being overwhelmed by Boston’s bashers.
“I take what happened because I made mistakes out there,” he said.
Trey Mancini hit a first-inning homer for the Orioles, who have lost their last two games by a combined 25-5 score and have a major league-worst minus-144 run differential.
Papi on their mind
The Red Sox hit the road but their hearts remain with former slugger David Ortiz, who’s in a Boston hospital as he recovers from a gunshot wound suffered Sunday in his native Dominican Republic.
“We’re getting updates every day,” Cora said. “On the off-day when we get back (next Thursday), we’ll have a chance to go visit him and spend time with him.”
Red Sox: Reliever Heath Hembree (strained right elbow) was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to Tuesday. Hembree said the elbow is merely sore, and expects to miss the minimum amount of time. LHP Josh Taylor was recalled from Triple-A Pawtucket . … LHP Brian Johnson (left elbow inflammation) returned from the IL and will likely start on Sunday if not used out of the bullpen beforehand. 1B/OF Sam Travis was optioned to Pawtucket. … 1B Steve Pearce (back) began a rehab assignment on Friday with Class A short season Lowell, going 1 for 3 with an RBI. … RHP Hector Velazquez (lower back strain) begins a rehab assignment on Saturday with Lowell.
Orioles: 3B Hanser Alberto left in the fifth inning after feeling ill. … RHP Josh Lucas was placed on the IL with a right shoulder strain after pitching three innings on Thursday night. … DH/OF Mark Trumbo is on a holding pattern in his bid to return from offseason knee surgery after receiving an injection Thursday. “The right thing to do is make sure Mark is right and his knee is OK,” Hyde said. “I know he’s disappointed and a little frustrated. I just feel bad for him.” The 33-year-old Trumbo has not played since Aug. 19.
Red Sox: Chris Sale (2-7, 3.52 ERA) starts the second game of the series Saturday, looking to expand a streak of 17 straight innings without allowing an earned run. He struck out 14 Orioles on May 8.
Orioles: Dylan Bundy (3-7, 4.50) has more losses against Boston (7) than any other team.