BALTIMORE (AP) _David Price returned to form against the Baltimore Orioles, and after he was done, the skilled left-hand er made this perfectly clear: The best is yet to come.
Price took a three-hitter into the eighth inning to earn his first win of the season, Hanley Ramirez homered and the Boston Red Sox rolled to a 5-2 victory Saturday night.
Making his second start since coming off the disabled list with a strained left elbow, Price (1-0) allowed one run over seven-plus innings. After belatedly launching his 2017 season with an uneven outing against the White Sox on Monday, Price looked every bit like a five-time All-Star against Baltimore.
“I feel like it’s going to continue to get better,” he said. “That’s my fourth outing with an umpire, my fourth outing with guys on base. I expect to get a lot better than this.”
Price was plenty good enough in this one.
He gave up three hits, struck out seven and did not allow a runner past first base until Manny Machado led off the seventh with a home run. That was the only flaw in an otherwise sparkling performance that enabled Price to improve to 12-5 lifetime against the Orioles, including 7-0 at Camden Yards.
“The game was about not being able to do much against one of the best pitchers in the game,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said.
Craig Kimbrel gave up a ninth-inning run, but picked up his 16th save in 17 tries.
Boston took the lead for good in the fourth inning when Ramirez lined an 0-2 pitch from Dylan Bundy into the left-field seats after Xander Bogaerts drew a leadoff walk.
Bundy (6-4) threw 100 pitches over five innings in his fourth start this season against Boston. He’s 2-2 in those games.
“I was making pitches and they were just fouling off, pitcher’s pitches,” Bundy said. “You can’t control that.”
There once was a time when Price had the same kind of problem. In this one, he needed only 92 pitches to get into the eighth.
“I don’t want to be out there throwing 100 pitches or 90 pitches through five innings. That’s eight years ago when I did that,” Price said. “I want to get back to being efficient and getting a lot of early outs.”
After Machado connected in the seventh, the Red Sox went up 4-1 in the eighth against Ubaldo Jimenez. Bogaerts hit a run-producing grounder and scored on a double by Ramirez .
The victory _ Boston’s first in a four-game series that concludes Sunday _ lifted the Red Sox past Baltimore into second place in the AL East.
“It was a big night for David and a boost for us,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
Four of Ramirez’s seven HRs this season have come against the Orioles. … Baltimore fell to 19-9 at home. … Red Sox rookie OF Andrew Benintendi ended an 0-for-19 skid with a sixth-inning single. … Boston’s Mookie Betts got two hits and now has 499 for his career. … RH batters were 0 for 47 against Kimbrel this season until Mark Trumbo singled in the ninth.
Orioles RHP Alec Asher was so impressive Friday night against Boston (6 1/3 innings, 3 hits, 2 runs) that manager Buck Showalter named him the starter Thursday in Washington. Asher has thus far started twice since replacing Jimenez in the rotation.
Red Sox: INF Josh Rutledge was a late scratch due to dehydration. … Manager John Farrell said 2B Dustin Pedroia’s injured wrist continues to improve. Pedroia was placed on the 10-day disabled list Tuesday. “We project that his first day eligible, he’d be ready to go,” Farrell said. . Reliever Matt Barnes was unavailable while attending a personal matter, but is expected to return Sunday.
Orioles: C Welington Castillo could end up spending the minimum time on DL after sustaining a testicular injury Tuesday night. “I’m hoping the last day or two of the 10 days that he’s a go,” Showalter said.
Red Sox: LHP Chris Sale (6-2, 2.77 ERA), who has won his last five decisions and leads the majors with 110 strikeouts, gets the start in the series finale Sunday.
Orioles: Making his sixth start since coming off the DL, Chris Tillman (1-2, 5.87 ERA) seeks to rebound from a rocky outing (2 2/3 innings, 5 runs) against the Yankees on Tuesday.
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