The Boston Red Sox have come a long way since being swept by the Baltimore Orioles in their opening series.
The Red Sox defeated the Orioles 4-3 at Camden Yards on Sunday to earn their fourth consecutive win and sixth straight victory over Baltimore since losing three in a row to open the 2021 season.
Starter Nick Pivetta (more on him shortly) earned the win and Matt Barnes picked up his eighth save of the season to improve Boston's record to 22-13, the best in Major League Baseball.
Here are three takeaways from the Red Sox' win in Baltimore:
Nick Pivetta is making Chaim Bloom look very smart
Our John Tomase recently gave the Red Sox' 2020 trade for Pivetta an A+, and it's easy to see why.
Pivetta was by no means dominant Sunday, but he limited the Orioles to two runs on three hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts over six innings to improve to 5-0 on the season.
That makes the 28-year-old right-hander a perfect 7-0 since coming over from the Philadelphia Phillies last August -- with a 2.89 ERA in that span.
Pivetta posted a 5.50 ERA over three-plus seasons with Philadelphia, but he's been an absolute steal for the Red Sox as a fourth starter who has provided valuable length to a surprisingly good rotation in 2021.
Hunter Renfroe shows signs of life
Renfroe has scuffled out of the gate and hit just .167 with one home run and 18 strikeouts in April. But a new month has brought him a hotter bat.
The veteran outfielder blasted a 453-foot homer to dead center field Sunday, his third in his last eight games.
Despite finishing the day 1-for-4, Renfroe is now hitting .314 (11-for-35) in May with three home runs and nine RBIs.
The Red Sox have plenty of pop at the top of their lineup -- Rafael Devers also crushed his eighth homer of the season Sunday -- but when players at the bottom of the order like Renfroe start to heat up, that's when they can do some serious damage.
Matt Barnes continues to take the stress out of close games
Be honest: Did you expect the Orioles to tie the game in the ninth inning when Barnes took the ball?
You shouldn't have, because with the exception of just two appearances, the Red Sox' closer has been lights-out this season.
Barnes struck out one batter in a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his eighth save. Since allowing three runs to the Seattle Mariners on April 25, the hard-throwing right-hander has pitched seven scoreless innings with 12 strikeouts, no walks and just one hit allowed.
The game's best closers make the ninth inning uneventful, and Barnes has done exactly that as the Red Sox' go-to stopper.