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Apr 11, 2024 6:09 am

Grayson Rodriguez, Orioles eye sweep of Red Sox

Grayson Rodriguez, Orioles,

Following a comfortable victory and then a come-from-behind effort, the visiting Baltimore Orioles will look to sweep the Boston Red Sox when the teams wrap up a three-game series on Thursday.

After taking the opener 7-1 on Tuesday, the Orioles overcame a five-run deficit to earn a 7-5 victory on Wednesday. Jordan Westburg capped the scoring by hitting a three-run home run in the seventh inning.

“I think it comes from not trying to do too much in that situation,” Westburg said. “It’s the seventh inning so I know it’s not the end of the world if those runs don’t score, but deep down I want to score them.

“I want our team on top. I think it comes from just sticking with an approach, being aggressive and trying to move the ball.”

Boston led 5-0 through five innings before Baltimore scored three runs in the sixth and four in the seventh.

“We had a lot of really good at-bats in those couple innings, and then we got fortunate to get some big hits,” Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde said. “Jordan obviously with the huge hit.”

Westburg’s homer came against Chris Martin, who allowed all four runs (three earned) in the seventh. Martin was one of the best relievers in baseball last season, when he had a 1.05 ERA in 55 games (51 1/3 innings).

“There’s a guy we trust, that’s why he’s ready for the seventh or the eighth,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “When we feel there’s a pocket for the big boys for them, we’re going to use him. That’s what we did last year and that’s what we’re going to do this year. It just didn’t happen (Wednesday).

“A team like (the Orioles) — they don’t stop. They’re relentless offensively. You have to keep adding on.”

Baltimore’s Grayson Rodriguez (2-0, 2.19 ERA) and Boston’s Garrett Whitlock (1-0, 0.96) are scheduled to start Thursday in a matchup of right-handers.

Rodriguez, 24, pitched 6 1/3 innings in his latest outing, a 5-2 road victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday. He allowed two runs — both on solo home runs — and six hits while striking out seven and walking two.

“He’s still developing at the big-league level, and he’s got big-time starter stuff,” Hyde said. “The command is so much better than it was in the first half of last season. There are still some wasted pitches, but when you’re throwing 95, 97, 98 (mph) and are around the plate and have a good breaking ball, it makes a difference.”

Rodriguez took a loss in his only career appearance against Boston. He allowed four runs (two earned) on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings during a 7-3 loss to the Red Sox last Sept. 10. Rodriguez struck out six and walked two.

Whitlock, 27, is 0-0 with a 1.50 ERA and two saves in 11 appearances (one start) against the Orioles. He has recorded 26 strikeouts and just four walks in 24 innings against Baltimore.

Whitlock had control issues on Saturday in Boston’s 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim, Calif. He didn’t allow a run in 4 1/3 innings, but threw 101 pitches. He walked four, struck out four and gave up four hits.

–Field Level Media

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