Rodriguez beats O’s again; Boston wins 6-2 to finish sweep

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
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BOSTON — Eduardo Rodriguez was sharp against Baltimore again, J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer and the Boston Red Sox completed a three-game sweep with a 6-2 victory Sunday, sending the Orioles to their 11th straight loss.

Boston has won four of five games after losing 10 of 12 and falling out of first place in the AL East.

The Orioles have been outscored 104-34 during their second-longest skid this season. They had a 14-game losing streak in May.

Baltimore’s Cedric Mullins went 0 for 5, halting his 20-game hitting streak. It was the longest by an Oriole since Adam Jones had a 20-game streak in 2012.

Rodriguez (9-6) allowed a first-inning unearned run and three singles, striking out six and walking three in six innings. In his last 12 appearances against Baltimore, he’s 9-0 with a 1.81 ERA. The 28-year-old lefty was originally signed by the Orioles in 2010 before being dealt to Boston four years later.

Rodriguez didn’t want to come out after six innings.

“I learned that from my teammates I’ve played with,” he said, referring to Chris Sale and David Price. “Those guys have taught me: ‘You’ve got to go out there no matter what.’ That’s the way I want to be.”

Manager Alex Cora told him some in the bullpen needed work.

“Where we were bullpen-wise, knowing what’s coming, we needed some guys to go out there and touch the rubber,” Cora said.

Red Sox right-hander Adam Ottavino had to leave with a left shoulder contusion after getting hit by Jorge Mateo‘s hard liner for an RBI single in the seventh.

“He’s OK,” Cora said. “A little bit sore, nothing structural.”

Martinez homered off a billboard above the Green Monster in the first against Keegan Akin (0-7) after his throw in the top of the inning bounced away from the cutoff man for an error, allowing Austin Hays to score.

Akin went four innings and gave up three runs, all in the first. He allowed six hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

“I’ve still got to get a little better, go deeper in the game,” he said.

Kyle Schwarber was back in the lineup for Boston after having Saturday off. He went 2 for 4 with two doubles, his first hits with the Red Sox. The 28-year-old slugger, sidelined since July 2 with a strained right hamstring, made his debut on Friday after being acquired from Washington at the trade deadline.

“It’s nice to get the first one out of the way,” he said. “Now I can relax and play ball.”

Kike Hernandez had an RBI single off the right foot of third-base umpire Will Little, who tried to jump over the grounder down the line during a three-run sixth.

DAY AFTER

Cora said Sale, who made his first big league appearance in just over two years Saturday, felt fine and is in line to make his next scheduled start Friday at Fenway Park against Texas.

The 32-year-old Sale had Tommy John surgery on his 31st birthday – March 30, 2020. He gave up two runs – on solo homers – with eight strikeouts and no walks over five innings during an 89-pitch outing.

ROSTER MOVES

Boston claimed INF Travis Shaw off waivers from Milwaukee. He played with the Red Sox in 2015 and 2016.

Shaw hadn’t played with the Brewers since June 9 due to a dislocated shoulder. He hit .191 with six homers and 28 RBIs in 56 games, playing 1B and 3B.

“Finally, I feel old,” Cora said. “I played with his dad. I saw Travis running around the clubhouse in L.A.”

The Orioles selected the contracts of LHP Fernando Abad and RHP Konner Wade from Triple-A Norfolk. To make room, they optioned RHP Dusten Knight to Norfolk and designated RHP Adam Plutko for assignment.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Orioles: Manager Brandon Hyde said LHP Bruce Zimmermann (biceps) has a chance to pitch before the season ends, but he had a setback recently when he sprained his ankle doing exercises.

Red Sox: Placed LHP Josh Taylor on the COVID-19 injured list and recalled C Connor Wong from Triple-A Worcester. Cora said bench coach Will Venable, who tested positive for COVID-19 last weekend in Toronto, and first-base coach Tom Goodwin, deemed a close contact, could be allowed to leave Canada soon and join the team in New York for Tuesday’s doubleheader against the Yankees.

UP NEXT

Orioles: RHP Matt Harvey (6-11, 6.10 ERA) is scheduled to start Monday when they open a four-game series on the road against the AL East-leading Rays.

Red Sox: Off Monday before a day/night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday.

MLB, union resume blood testing after pandemic, lockout

Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK – In the first acknowledgment that MLB and the players’ association resumed blood testing for human growth hormone, the organizations said none of the 1,027 samples taken during the 2022 season tested positive.

HGH testing stopped in 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing also was halted during the 99-day lockout that ended in mid-March, and there were supply chain issues due to COVID-19 and additional caution in testing due to coronavirus protocols.

The annual public report is issued by Thomas M. Martin, independent program administrator of MLB’s joint drug prevention and treatment program. In an announcement accompanying Thursday’s report, MLB and the union said test processing is moving form the INRS Laboratory in Quebec, Canada, to the UCLA Laboratory in California.

MLB tests for HGH using dried blood spot testing, which was a change that was agreed to during bargaining last winter. There were far fewer samples taken in 2022 compared to 2019, when there were 2,287 samples were collected – none positive.

Beyond HGH testing, 9,011 urine samples were collected in the year ending with the 2022 World Series, up from 8,436 in the previous year but down from 9,332 in 2019. And therapeutic use exemptions for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder dropped for the ninth straight year, with just 72 exemptions in 2022.

Overall, the league issued six suspensions in 2022 for performance-enhancing substances: three for Boldenone (outfielder/first baseman Danny Santana, pitcher Richard Rodriguez and infielder Jose Rondon, all free agents, for 80 games apiece); one each for Clomiphene (Milwaukee catcher Pedro Severino for 80 games), Clostebol (San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. for 80 games) and Stanozolol (Milwaukee pitcher J.C. Mejia for 80 games).

There was an additional positive test for the banned stimulant Clobenzorex. A first positive test for a banned stimulant results in follow-up testing with no suspension.