BOSTON — The Red Sox won a Major League Baseball-best 33 series in 2013. It’s safe to say they won’t reach that mark in 2015.
The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Red Sox 8-6 in Thursday’s series finale at Fenway Park, dropping Boston to 8-12-5 in series this season, including 2-8-1 against American League East opponents.
Eduardo Rodriguez started strong, retiring the first 10 batters he faced. But the rookie left-hander finished poorly, allowing six runs on seven consecutive hits in the fourth inning before departing with two outs.
Thursday’s game undoubtedly will serve as a learning experience for Rodriguez, who perhaps had too much pressure placed on him after a historic start to his career. But the Red Sox need wins right now, especially in these intradivision games, and they’re still not establishing any momentum whatsoever.
Let’s run down some notes from an interesting day for the Sox.
— Alejandro De Aza’s first home run with the Red Sox snapped a 70-at-bat homerless drought.
De Aza, who was acquired from the Orioles earlier this month, is hitting .346 (9-for-26) with seven RBIs and five extra-base hits over his last seven games.
— Rookie Blake Swihart is making a case to remain the Red Sox’s starting catcher even when Ryan Hanigan returns from his injury.
Swihart, who returned Thursday after missing the last three games with a foot injury, has reached base in each of his last 11 starts. He’s batting .400 (10-for-25) with a .464 on-base percentage since June 12.
— Mookie Betts’ career-best hit streak is up to 12 games. No Red Sox player has had a longer hit streak since Jacoby Ellsbury had a 19-gamer in June/July 2013.
— Jonathan Aro made his major league debut.
The 24-year-old pitcher, who signed as an international free agent in 2011, is an interesting story in that he never played above High-A until this season. He wasn’t in big league camp this spring.
“A right-hander that has moved quick,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said of Aro before Thursday’s game. “He was impressive in the couple of games in which he pitched in spring training. He’s a strike-thrower. He’s got some swing and miss to his fastball. He doesn’t fear contact, evident by the strikeout-to-walk (ratio) at both Double-A and Triple-A this year.
“He is a young guy that’s on the move pretty quick here. He’ll pitch in the middle (innings) for us and get his feet wet initially.”
Aro, who allowed one run on four hits over 1 1/3 innings, might not be around long, but his rapid ascent through the system still is impressive.
— Deven Marrero didn’t see any action in his first game with Boston after being called up. He’s expected to hold down a utility role, though.
“He’s a polished infielder,” Farrell said. “The bat came along a little bit in spring training with his ability to drive the baseball a little bit more consistently. … Always been a very, very good defender.
“He has shown a lot of instincts in the games that we saw in spring training,” Farrell added. “So we’re fully confident and comfortable with him in this role.”
Brock Holt essentially will be Boston’s starting second baseman with Dustin Pedroia sidelined, but he still could play the outfield at some point, too. Farrell didn’t rule out a scenario in which Holt plays the outfield while Marrero starts at second base versus a left-handed starter.
— Shane Victorino went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored in his second rehab game with Triple-A Pawtucket. He played six innings in right field and will remain with Pawtucket through the weekend.
— Hanigan, who also was rehabbing at Pawtucket, went 0-for-2 with a walk. He played five innings behind the plate. The Red Sox still are eyeing a July 1 return for him.
— Rusney Castillo homered off Ervin Santana in the PawSox’s 6-5 loss and also singled.
— Henry Owens posted his longest start of the season for Pawtucket. The left-hander went 6 2/3 innings and allowed three runs on five hits while striking out six and walking one.
— The Red Sox signed three more draft picks: right-handed pitcher Daniel Zandona (21st round), right-handed pitcher Max Watt (22nd round) and outfielder Kyri Washington (23rd round). Boston has signed 19 of the 39 players in selected in this month’s draft.
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