BALTIMORE (AP) — Christian Arroyo ended Boston’s long-ball drought with a two-run shot, and Rich Hill combined with four relievers on a five-hitter to help the Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles 3-1 Friday night.
Arroyo hit his first homer of the season in the second inning to provide the Red Sox with all the offense they needed to saddle the Orioles with their fifth straight defeat. It was Boston’s first home run in seven games and only its second in the last 11.
“I don’t think about stuff like that. I just think of quality at-bats,” manager Alex Cora said. “Obviously, we hit a few balls hard today. We’re getting better.”
The Red Sox, a team usually known for its power, came in with only 11 homers — tied for third-fewest in the majors.
“It was good to see the bats come around,” Hill said. “Confidence is building.”
Although Boston could only tack on an unearned run to Arroyo’s drive over the center-field wall, it was enough to back a fine job on the mound by Hill and the Red Sox bullpen.
Hill opened by retiring the first 12 batters he faced. After Austin Hays led off the fifth with an infield hit, Tanner Houck (2-1) came in to pitch three innings of two-hit ball. Houck had been on the restricted list during the team’s trip to Toronto earlier in the week because he has not been vaccinated.
Cora spoke before the game of using Houck to “piggy-back” with Hill, and the strategy worked.
“Tanner did a great job coming in, and also the guys out of the bullpen continued to throw the ball well,” Hill said.
Jake Diekman followed with a perfect eighth and Hansel Robles gave up a leadoff homer in the ninth to Ryan Mountcastle, along with a single by Hays, before getting two outs.
Cora then called upon Matt Strahm, who put the…