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Red Sox, Benintendi stay hot on chilly day

Union Leader wire services
April 15. 2018 10:01PM
Boston left fielder Andrew Benintendi dives into third base hitting a triple to bring in a run against the Baltimore Orioles in the fifth inning at Fenway Park. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)

BOSTON — It seemed like a given that runs were going to come at a premium Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.

Not even a scorching Red Sox offense averaging 8.9 runs over its last seven games stood much of a chance under chilling conditions, with the temperature clinging to just above freezing throughout the tilt.

Still, Boston had its chances against Orioles starter Dylan Bundy, stranding three runners in scoring position over the first four innings of play.

Playing with fire once again, Bundy was not able to maneuver past Boston’s lineup a third time through, as the Red Sox erased a one-run deficit with a combined three runs in the fifth and six innings to cap off a 3-1 win.

With the win, the Red Sox improved to 13-2 on the season, improving on the team’s best start in franchise history. Prior to 2018, the last team to start 12-2 or better was the Atlanta Braves in 2013 (13-2.)

Andrew Benintendi continued to string together strong at-bats out of the No. 2 spot in the lineup, going 3-for-4 at the plate with a pair of extra-base hits.

The outfielder tied the contest at 1-1 in the bottom of the fifth, lacing an outside fastball from Bundy into right field, scoring Jackie Bradley Jr. for a RBI triple.

After opening the 2018 season with an 0-for-11 skid, Benintendi has started to settle in at the dish, batting .385 over his last six games with five extra-base hits and eight RBIs.

Boston took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth — with a wild pitch from Bundy allowing J.D. Martinez to tag up and score from third to make it a 2-1 contest. Tzu-Wei Lin hit a ground-rule double into right field later in the frame, driving in Mitch Moreland to give Boston a two-run cushion.

“Dylan was outstanding,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “Just remarkable for me to watch him plying his trade or whatever in those type of conditions. I can’t tell you how hard that is and that was impressive. I’m sure Dylan’s done a little duck hunting in his life. That’s kind of what that was like.”

Bundy’s 1.40 ERA ranks seventh-best in the American League but he is still looking for his first win off the season.

“Like I said, it ain’t about my wins,” Bundy said. “Like I said last time, it’s team wins. Right now, we’re not getting team wins, either so just go out there every five days and try and give my team the chance to win the best I can.”

Chris Sale earned the start for the Red Sox, holding Baltimore to just two hits and one run over five innings of work, fanning eight batters. Sale finished with 93 pitches, standing as the fourth consecutive start in which the southpaw has not eclipsed triple digits in pitches.

The Red Sox ace’s lone blemish came in the top of the first, with Manny Machado driving a changeup from Sale into left field for a RBI double. Despite tossing 21 pitches in the opening frame, Sale settled down, tossing four no-hit innings to close out his appearance.

Benintendi’s RBI triple put Boston on the board in the fifth, while an error from Baltimore third baseman Danny Valencia allowed J.D. Martinez to reach first to lead off the sixth, setting the stage for Boston’s go-ahead runs.

A double off the bat of Moreland put runners at second and third for the Red Sox, with Bundy’s wild pitch allowing Martinez to cross home and give Boston the lead. With two outs in the inning, Lin jumped on a low slider from Bundy and flicked it into right, with the ball bouncing into the stands for the RBI double.

Once Sale exited the contest, Boston’s bullpen corps of Heath Hembree, Matt Barnes and Craig Kimbrel shut the door with four shutout innings of work. and Baltimore Sun reports

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