By Gracenote

The Baltimore Orioles provided the fireworks with four home runs in the opener of what was expected to be a contentious four-game series against the Boston Red Sox. Baltimore aims to continue making a statement with its offense on Friday, when it hosts reigning American League Cy Young Award winner Rick Porcello and the Red Sox.

Mark Trumbo highlighted his fifth career three-hit performance with a two-run blast in Thursday’s 7-5 rout to improve to 8-for-17 with two homers, six RBIs and as many runs scored in his last five games. The 31-year-old has enjoyed success versus Porcello, going 9-for-29 with three blasts in his career. While Baltimore has won three of four on the heels of a season-high seven-game skid, Boston has dropped three of five after posting a campaign-best six-game winning streak. Jackie Bradley Jr. launched a three-run homer in the ninth inning on Thursday for his third shot in six games, a span during which he has collected 10 RBIs.

PITCHING MATCHUP: Red Sox RH Rick Porcello (3-6, 4.21 ERA) vs. Orioles RH Alec Asher (1-3, 3.77)

Porcello’s rocky season continued on Sunday as he allowed 11 hits for the second straight outing and sustained the loss despite limiting the damage to just two runs over 6 1/3 innings. The 28-year-old received a similar result despite putting forth a much better performance in his last outing against Baltimore, permitting two runs and five hits while striking out seven in six frames on May 1. Porcello fell to 4-9 with a 4.77 ERA in his career versus the Orioles, with a 2-4 mark and a 4.89 ERA at Camden Yards.

Asher’s third start of the season left plenty to be desired as the 25-year-old was shredded for six runs and as many hits in two innings en route to an 8-4 loss at Houston. Asher pitched well but sustained his first loss of the year against Boston on May 2 after allowing a pair of homers by Hanley Ramirez in a 5-2 setback. Asher also recorded a scoreless inning of relief in a 6-2 loss to the Red Sox on April 23.


1. Boston C Christian Vazquez drove in a pair of runs for the second straight contest and improved to 9-for-23 with four RBIs against Baltimore this season.

2. Orioles 3B Manny Machado, who was the central figure in the teams’ previous testy series, recorded two singles to increase his hit total to 11 against the Red Sox this season.

3. Boston RF Mookie Betts is 4-for-28 with six strikeouts in his last seven games.

PREDICTION: Red Sox 4, Orioles 2


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