Orioles at Red Sox
J.D. Martinez has been everything the Boston Red Sox hoped for when they signed him to a $110 million deal this offseason, and the slugger will try to stay hot when he leads his team into the opener of a four-game series with the visiting Baltimore Orioles on Thursday. Martinez slugged a two-run homer and scored twice in Wednesday's 6-4 victory over the Oakland Athletics, giving him seven long balls in the past 14 contests.
The triumph allowed the Red Sox to avoid being swept for the first time this year while improving to 13-1 in series finales. The Orioles averaged 8.5 runs during a 5-1 surge before they were limited to four hits in a 4-1 loss to Philadelphia at home Wednesday afternoon. They'll give the ball to red-hot right-hander Kevin Gausman in the series opener opposite Red Sox lefty David Price. Boston carries a six-game winning streak over Baltimore into Thursday's contest, which is the makeup for an April 16 rainout.
TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, MLB Network, MASN (Baltimore), NESN (Boston)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Orioles RH Kevin Gausman (3-2, 3.18 ERA) vs. Red Sox LH David Price (3-4, 4.89)
Since allowing six runs in four innings of his season debut, Gausman is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA over a span of seven starts. He followed up nine scoreless frames at Oakland two turns ago with 7 1/3 innings of two-run ball in a win over Tampa Bay on Friday. Mookie Betts is 12-for-29 with three home runs against the former first-round pick, who is 4-6 with a 3.83 ERA in his career versus Boston.
Price had eight days off between his last two starts, during which he was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome, and then won at Toronto on Saturday with 5 1/3 solid innings. The former Cy Young Award winner gave up 10 runs (nine earned) in 6 2/3 innings over his last two outings at Fenway Park. Danny Valencia is 13-for-22 with five walks against Price, who dominated the Orioles through seven innings in their lone encounter last year and has a 2.81 ERA in 25 career meetings.
1. Boston won the first three meetings in 2018 by a combined score of 20-7.
2. Martinez has reached safely in a career-high 21 straight games.
3. Baltimore CF Adam Jones homered for team's only run in Wednesday's loss while extending his hitting streak to 11 games.