Tempers flared between the Red Sox and Orioles in Boston’s second straight blowout victory in the series.
Boston may have bigger concerns, though, than possible Baltimore retribution.
After opening this series with a 10-4 rout Thursday, the Red Sox (53-35) jumped on Zach Britton(notes) for eight first-inning runs Friday and cruised to a 10-3 victory. David Ortiz(notes) hit a three-run homer to highlight the big opening inning.
Things got ugly in the eighth when Ortiz took exception to Baltimore closer Kevin Gregg(notes) throwing inside on two pitches. On the second, Ortiz started to the mound and players from both benches and bullpens came onto the field, although nothing developed.
Things quickly escalated, though, after Gregg got Ortiz to fly out on a 3-0 pitch. Gregg said he yelled at Ortiz for not running toward first and the Red Sox designated hitter met the Baltimore reliever halfway between the mound and the first-base line where the two exchanged punches that never connected. The benches and bullpens cleared again and the brawl took several minutes to settle down.
“I think you show them that we’re not backing down. We’re not scared of them - them and their $180 million payroll,” Gregg said. “We don’t care. We’re here to play the game. We have just as much right to play the game here and we’re going to do everything we can to win.”
While both teams wait for word on possible punishments, Boston, which has eight homers in the series, will go for its fifth straight win Saturday. The AL East-leading Red Sox have won eight of nine, averaging 6.7 runs.
Baltimore (36-50), meanwhile, has been outscored 50-18 during a five-game losing streak. The team’s starters are 0-4 with a 12.00 ERA during that stretch, allowing 36 hits in 18 innings.
The Red Sox may need their offense to produce in a big way again with the struggling Lackey (5-8, 7.47 ERA) on the mound. The right-hander lost his third straight start Monday, giving up seven runs and nine hits in 2 1-3 innings in a 9-7 defeat to Toronto.
That outing pushed Lackey’s ERA to 9.45 during the three-game skid. He is 3-4 with a 9.17 ERA in seven home starts this season.
Lackey and the Red Sox denied reports last week that he needed Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and manager Terry Francona reiterated that opinion after Lackey’s latest start.
“Again, we’ve been through everything,” Francona told Boston’s official website. “We put him on the disabled list because of the elbow. His velocity is staying pretty much consistent. I think at times, movement and location is what probably bothered him, consistency, things like that. We certainly check with everyone all the time.”
Lackey is 10-4 with a 3.05 ERA in 17 starts against the Orioles, going 2-1 with a 2.80 ERA in five with the Red Sox.
Simon hasn’t pitched more than 4 2-3 innings in seven relief appearances this year. He went 4 1-3 at Texas on Monday, allowing six runs and nine hits.
The right-hander pitched five innings of relief against the Red Sox last year, giving up three runs and two hits in six appearances.
Boston is 23-7 at home against Baltimore since the start of the 2008 season.