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Behind Rich Hill, Red Sox go for series win vs. Orioles

Sportsnaut
May 25, 2022; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Rich Hill (44) delivers against the Chicago White Sox during the first inning at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

The Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles will conclude their five-game, four-day series with a night game on Memorial Day.

After Baltimore left-handed starter Bruce Zimmermann allowed five home runs over the first four innings of Sunday’s 12-2 Boston win, the Red Sox will send out a southpaw of their own, Rich Hill (1-2, 3.86 ERA), for the series finale on Monday night.

Hill has allowed eight runs over his last three starts after three consecutive shutout outings, going 2-1 during that span. The loss Wednesday at Chicago was Hill’s first since April 18, as he allowed three White Sox runs on just two hits over the first five innings of a 3-1 setback.

After Hill worked four scoreless innings, Jake Burger’s three-run home run accounted for all of Chicago’s scoring.

“I just went to the well too many times on that drop-down slider,” Hill said. “That’s on me. It’s a tough one. It keeps you up at night. … One pitch, obviously, I’d like to have it back. That’s the game.”

The Sox have gone 3-2 in five games since their six-game winning streak was snapped after Hill’s last start.

Hill is slated for his second start of the season against Baltimore after holding the Orioles to one hit and striking out four over four shutout innings on April 29.

Entering his 17th career appearance and seventh start against Baltimore, the 42-year-old is 3-0 with a 2.00 ERA in 36 innings.

Boston got a season-high five homers from five different players on Sunday, including Franchy Cordero and Bobby Dalbec who were both 2-for-4.

“We’re swinging at the right pitches and not trying to do too much,” Dalbec said. “We were all kind of pressing as a team early and just missing balls and stuff not going our way. We kind of let it wear on us.”

In addition to launching five homers, Christian Vazquez and Xander Bogaerts hit two doubles apiece, and Cordero added another.

“Energy comes from offense,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “We did an outstanding job offensively.”

On the mound, Baltimore will counter Monday with 27-year-old Tyler Wells (1-4, 4.30), a second-year major leaguer whose April 4, 2021, debut came in relief against the Red Sox. He has never faced Boston as a starter.

Wells, a right-hander, is winless over his last three starts despite allowing just two runs on five hits over five innings Wednesday against the New York Yankees. He last won on May 9 against Kansas City.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said Wells “had his best stuff that he had this year” in his last outing.

Wells connected well with catcher Adley Rutschman, the organization’s top prospect who debuted on May 21.

“Me and him were on the same page most of the game,” Wells said. “He received it really well. He blocked really well. He is definitely a great catcher to have behind the plate as far as presence. He is a wide guy; he gives a good target.”

The five homers allowed by Zimmermann on Sunday tied a Baltimore franchise record for the fifth time.

“They were on everything he threw,” Hyde said. “We just need to flush this one and try to win a series tomorrow. We haven’t had many of these, and this wasn’t our day. Zimm struggled from the start, and they were really on everything, and we just need to let this one go and come back tomorrow.”

One Sunday bright spot was Trey Mancini, who went 3-for-3 and reached base four times in a game for the 22nd time in his career.

–Field Level Media