Boston Red Sox

BALTIMORE – The Red Sox have lost just two games to the Baltimore Orioles this season. Drew Pomeranz was on the mound for both of them.

The Sox dropped the middle game of their three-game set in Baltimore 7-6 Tuesday night.

Pomeranz (1-4) was unimpressive in his return to the rotation, lasting 4 2/3 innings while giving up four runs on six hits. He struck out four and walked two and served up two home runs.

The southpaw showed little improvement from his early season struggles, featuring a fastball sitting only in the upper-80’s and a curveball that was inconsistent at best.

Joe Kelly struggled mightily again out of the bullpen for Boston, giving up three runs on two hits and two walks. Since June 1, Kelly has given up 17 earned runs on 19 hits while walking 13 batters in 15 1/3 innings (9.98 ERA).

J.D. Martinez homered twice, while Mookie Betts, and Blake Swihart also went deep for Boston. For Swihart, it was his first home run since September of 2015.

The Sox saw a comeback effort fall short in the ninth, with Betts grounding into a double play with the tying run at second base.

Boston dropped to 10-2 against the lowly Orioles this season. The only other loss the Sox suffered to the O’s was May 18 when Pomeranz gave up four runs in four innings en route to a 7-4 defeat.

How it happened:

Martinez hit a solo homer in the first, his 30th of the season. He became the 11th player in team history to hit 30 or more home runs in his first season in Boston, and the first to do so since David Ortiz in 2003.

Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop hit a two-run home run in the third, hammering a hanging breaking ball from Pomeranz over the left field fence to give Baltimore a 2-1 lead.

The Sox stormed back in the fifth, with back-to-back solo home runs from Swihart and Betts.

The Orioles took a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the fifth when Pomeranz hung a curveball to Tim Beckham, who crushed the offering well out of the park to left-center.

Baltimore busted the game open in the sixth, rocking Kelly for three runs to take a 7-3 lead. Kelly loaded the bases, then surrendered a sacrifice fly to Beckham before two more runners came in to score on RBI singles by Schoop and Adam Jones

The Sox began to battle back in the eighth inning on a two-run homer by Martinez, his 31st of the season.

With closer Zach Britton reportedly traded to the Yankees in the middle of the ballgame, the Orioles turned to righty Brad Brach in the ninth with a 7-5 lead.

Jackie Bradley Jr. reached on an infield single to lead off the inning and advanced to second on an error by the shortstop Beckham. Bradley moved to third on a groundout by Brock Holt and scored on an infield single by Rafael Devers.

Brach issued a four-pitch walk to the nine-hitter Swihart, bringing up Betts with two on and one out. But Betts hit a sharp grounder to second base starting the game-ending 4-6-3 double play.

Up next:

The Sox and Orioles play the rubber game of their three-game series Wednesday night at Camden Yards, weather permitting. David Price (11-6, 4.17 ERA) will face Baltimore righty Dylan Bundy (6-9, 4.57 ERA).