BALTIMORE – Bud Norris had an awful spring training and a terrible beginning to the 2015 season. In his first three starts, he allowed 20 earned runs.
His fourth start was much better.
Norris pitched six scoreless innings before allowing a three-run home run in the seventh and benefitted from a season high in runs.
The Orioles’ 18-7 win over the Boston Red Sox before 43,802 at Oriole Park on Sunday was a joy for fans to watch.
Manager Buck Showalter didn’t hesitate when asked what was more important to him, Norris or the offense.
"Bud, without a doubt. That's the Bud that pitched well for us last year. This guy won 15 games last year and he was in attack mode today,” Showalter said.
Eighteen runs was the most the Orioles scored since Apr. 14, 2006 when they beat Cleveland 18-9.
After Friday night’s agonizing loss, the Orioles had a five-game losing streak, their longest since Sept. 2013.
But the rest of the weekend was a much more positive experience. David Lough’s 10th inning home run gave the Orioles an exciting win on Saturday, and a day later, they put on an offensive display.
Delmon Young had five RBIs, Chris Davis, Steve Pearce and Jimmy Paredes each had three RBIs. All three and Rey Navarro in his third game, had three hits.
“It was one we kind of needed, we had been playing sloppy baseball for the past week or so. It was good to get out of the rut, we’ve been swinging the bats well. We just haven’t been playing on the defensive side of the ball well,” Young said.
The Orioles (9-10) scored their first run in the second without a hit. Mookie Betts dropped Young’s fly ball leading off the second for a two-base error. He moved to third on a fly ball by Davis, and scored on Pearce’s sacrifice fly to left.
In the third, the Orioles scored six, their biggest inning of 2015. Ryan Lavarnway singled, breaking an 0-for-12 streak. With one out, Everth Cabrera singled, and Manny Machado walked to load the bases.
Adam Jones walked off Wade Miley (1-2), scoring Lavarnway. Young’s single scored Cabrera, and Davis hit a long double to center to score two. Pearce’s bloop single and Paredes’ infield out drove in runs, giving the Orioles a 7-0 lead after three.
Miley was knocked out after Pearce’s single. He allowed seven runs, six earned on five hits in 2 1/3 innings.
Navarro singled, and with one out, Machado walked and moved to second on a wild pitch by Anthony Varvaro. Young’s two-out single scored Navarro and Machado for a 9-0 lead.
Navarro’s first major league RBI, a fifth-inning single made it 10-0.
Davis’ fourth home run to center field, in the sixth, gave the Orioles their 11th run, and a moment later, Paredes’ RBI triple pushed the lead to 12-0.
“That’s a lot of run support for sure. This is the American League East. We’re always reminded that every inning it can happen that quick. You’ve got to be careful, make really good quality pitches,” Norris said.
Norris (1-2) allowed four hits and three walks in the first six innings, but had that 12-run lead. In his first three starts, he had a total of five scoreless innings, and though he didn’t have a 1-2-3 inning, he had that big lead.
Pablo Sandoval’s three-run home run in the seventh ended Norris’ day. In 6 2/3, he gave up three runs on seven hits.
“I’ve had a couple of rough ones that I wasn’t very happy about, but to come back out here, to do it at home, to finish with a series win, which was really nice. Excited with that, keep building on that, keep going,” Norris said.
Jason Garcia relieved Norris and allowed Hanley Ramirez’s seventh home run.
The Orioles added six more runs in the seventh on an RBI single by Jones, a two-run double by Young, a run-scoring single by Pearce, an RBI double by Paredes and a passed ball.
Boston (10-9) cut the led to 18-7 on a three-run home run by Ramirez in the ninth off Garcia, his eighth.
The Orioles hope that there’s some carryover as they look for their first three-game winning streak of the season on Monday night against Chicago.
“Momentum stops when you go to sleep. It’s a new pitcher, a new day,” Young said. “It’s not like softball when the same girl is pitching every day.”
NOTES: The 18 runs were the most the Orioles scored against the Red Sox. Their 20 hits were a season high. The last time the Orioles scored more than 18 was on Sept. 28, 2000 when they scored 23 against Toronto. … Hector Noesi (0-2, 5.23) faces Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1, 2.30) on Monday night.