BOSTON -- The Orioles continued their recent dominance of the Red Sox by holding on for a 6-4 victory in Tuesday's opener of a three-game series at Fenway Park. David Lough's three-run homer in the second was the biggest hit of the game and proved to be the difference.
Backed by four runs off of Joe Kelly in the top of the second, the Birds made it six straight against Boston dating back to April 25.
"My command was off today," said Kelly. "I couldn't throw the fastball where I wanted to and fell behind some hitters, which ultimately led to the big inning there and ended up running out of the game there."
If the Red Sox are going to climb back into the American League East race, they need to start faring better against division foes. Manager John Farrell's team is 10-22 within the division this season.
"We've got a good stretch in the division, so we want to go out and win as many games as we can," said Red Sox utility man Brock Holt. "But that being said, we want to win games against teams not in our division, too. But these are big."
Ubaldo Jimenez struck out eight over five innings to earn the win, with Kelly absorbing the loss. The Red Sox tried to rally in the ninth, as Dustin Pedroia hit an RBI double off O's closer Zach Britton to bring the potential tying run to the plate, but David Ortiz lined out to end the game.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Lough delivers: Lough, playing in place of injured All-Star Adam Jones, connected for a three-run homer that highlighted a four-run second inning and helped chase Kelly from the game. It marked his fourth homer of the year, and his third in the last 10 games.
"[Manager Buck Showalter] put together this team. He know what he wants. He knows what kind of depth this team has," Lough said. "We're all confident in this clubhouse that if someone goes down, unfortunately, anybody can step in and take his place and be able to produce for the team and help us win games." More >
Kelly labors: The right-hander didn't set the kind of tone the Red Sox were hoping for to open the homestand. The righty was touched up for four runs in the top of the second and threw 87 pitches over 3 2/3 innings. For the season, Kelly is 2-5 with a 5.67 ERA. Farrell acknowledged the team will have to have discussions regarding whether the righty makes his next scheduled start.
"Yeah, we haven't had a chance to review all that but I think we're certainly well aware of some of the up-and-down path it's been for Joe to this point," said Farrell. More >
Jimenez short, but solid: The O's righty lasted just five innings but managed to get the big outs when needed, scattering six hits and three walks to keep Boston from a big inning. Jimenez pounded the strike zone and stranded a pair of runners in the fifth before he turned the ball over to the bullpen after 101 pitches.
"It was really big, especially the last inning," said Jimenez, who struck out Xander Bogaerts to end the fifth. "It could have set the tone for the game if they got a base hit or tied the game right there. It would have changed everything. But I was able to make a good pitch and get out of the inning."
Napoli can't catch up:Mike Napoli's tough season continued as he struck out in all four of his at-bats. This, on the heels of Farrell moving the slugger to the eighth spot in the batting order for the first time in his three seasons with the Red Sox. Napoli's final K dropped his average to .199 on the season. It was his second four-K game of 2015, but the first was over eight at-bats in a 19-inning win at Yankee Stadium on April 10.
"A rough night for Mike," said Farrell. "Some swing and miss there where he's had some decent success against Jimenez coming into tonight's game against him. Mike's working through, searching to gain any kind of consistency and right now, just a tough night tonight." More >
"I've been looking for that win since 2007, the World Series [with Colorado]. I pitched the second game over here. It's been difficult, but finally I got it. It's one of those things, you go, 'Wow, I don't know why, but it doesn't seem like I'm going to win.' We were able to do it. It was a good team win, the guys really helped me out and I'm happy that I got that 'W'." -- Jimenez, on his first career victory at Fenway Park, which came in his fifth regular-season start at Boston
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS
The Red Sox are 9-31 when they don't score first this season.
For the second time in less than a week, Farrell was ejected. Farrell was upset after Holt was called out on strikes by home-plate umpire Tim Timmons to end the sixth, and was swiftly ejected after arguing his point. Last Wednesday in Atlanta, Farrell was ejected for arguing a check-swing call by first-base umpire Larry Vanover.
"We're fighting back into it, we've got two men on, two outs," said Farrell. "Brock's been swinging the bat well of late, gets rung up on a pitch that's probably a couple of baseballs away and I disagreed with it."
WHAT'S NEXT Orioles: Right-hander Bud Norris will take the mound for Wednesday's contest at Fenway Park, with first pitch set for 7:10 p.m. ET. After a rough start to the season and a bout of illness, Norris is 2-5 with a 7.57 ERA.
Red Sox: Right-hander Clay Buchholz, who has been on a roll of late, takes the ball in the middle game of this series. Buchholz is 9-5 with a 3.81 ERA lifetime against the Orioles.