The Baltimore Orioles probably can’t wait to get out of Boston. The Red Sox may wish they’d never leave.
The Red Sox look to complete a three-game sweep of the Orioles and a 5-1 homestand when the teams complete their weekend series at Fenway Park on Sunday.
Boston has defeated Baltimore 10 straight times, the longest active winning streak for one AL club over another. The Red Sox have outscored the Orioles by a combined 66-32 during the run that started Sept. 3.
Baltimore has scored three runs or fewer in eight of the 10 contests, including a 9-3 defeat Saturday. Boston also handed Baltimore a 6-3 loss in Friday’s series opener.
The Red Sox (18-12) have scored six or more runs in each of the first five games of their homestand after managing three or fewer runs in 10 of the season’s first 25 games. Boston scored five in the second inning on Saturday to help starter Tim Wakefield snap a personal three-game losing skid.
“It made my job a lot easier,” said Wakefield, who has recorded both of his wins this season against the Orioles (14-18). “I was pitching well, but you’re on the short end of the stick sometimes.”
Manny Ramirez went 1-for-2 with a homer, two walks, and two RBIs. The Red Sox are 7-1 this season in games when Ramirez drives in at least one run.
The slugger has a good chance at another productive effort Sunday, as he is hitting .778 (7-for-9) lifetime against Baltimore starter Kris Benson.
The Orioles, losers of four straight, once again look to Benson (4-2, 3.32 ERA) to stop a losing streak. The right-hander snapped another four-game slide with a 7-5 win over Toronto on April 27.
Benson defeated the Blue Jays again on Tuesday, 9-2 at Camden Yards, limiting the Blue Jays to two runs and six hits in 6 2-3 innings to halt a three-game skid.
“What he does is throw strikes and mix his pitches up,” Toronto catcher Bengie Molina said Tuesday. “That’s what he does well. Any pitcher that throws strikes and hits the corners keeps you off balance.”
Benson has won his last three starts, and is trying to win four outings in a row for the first time in his career. He lost his only lifetime meeting with the Red Sox on June 4, 2003 while with the Pittsburgh Pirates, allowing eight runs in 6 1-3 innings.
Left-hander Lenny DiNardo (0-1, 7.36) makes his first start in eight days for the Red Sox after having his turn in the rotation skipped due to a rainout on Tuesday. DiNardo allowed four runs in five innings in his last outing on April 29 against Tampa Bay, but received no decision in Boston’s 9-6 win.
DiNardo, who is in the Red Sox rotation while David Wells recovers from a sprained right knee, has been no mystery to opposing hitters, who are batting .397 against him this season. He was the losing pitcher in Boston’s last loss to the Orioles on Sept. 2, when he gave up four runs—one earned—in six innings.
Wells played long toss in the outfield before Saturday’s game, but there is no timetable for his return.