Martin Perez got off to a rough start in his Boston Red Sox debut, allowing five runs in the first two innings against the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday in Boston. Perez pitched five innings, allowing five runs (four earned) in Boston’s 7-2 loss. Michael Dwyer/Associated Press

BOSTON — Baltimore Orioles pitcher Alex Cobb has been waiting a long time to tell his teammates “thank you” following a victory.

That wait ended with his first regular-season win in almost two years.

Cobb mostly kept the Red Sox off balance on Saturday, allowing just four hits and one run while striking out six in Baltimore’s 7-2 win. It was a big change from the day before, when the Orioles watched the Red Sox tally 17 hits in a 13-2 win on Opening Day.

After missing most of last season because of a hip injury that required surgery, Cobb said making his first start since April 2019 was a small step in a journey to get back to where he wants to be.

“You have to start somewhere,” said Cobb, who went 5 1/3 innings to pick up his first victory since Sept. 4, 2018, against Seattle. “There’s been a lot of work put in, post-surgery, rehab. It’s real nice to be able to see results.”

Anthony Santander and Renato Nunez each drove in two runs. Hanser Alberto finished with three hits, and Austin Hays and Jose Iglesias added two apiece. The trio combined to go 7 for 15 with a double, two RBI and four runs scored.

Manager Brandon Hyde said there’s lots of room for Cobb to grow.

“I don’t think actually he had his best stuff,” Hyde said. “But as a competitor, he knows how to pitch and really did a great job. Stretched him out a little bit, which isn’t a bad thing.”

Cobb took a seat in the sixth after giving up a solo home run to Mitch Moreland.

But he had room for the mistake thanks to the run support from a lineup that jumped on pitches from Boston starter Martin Perez early in at-bats to give Cobb a 5-0 cushion. The Red Sox got a run in the sixth off reliever Paul Fry to pull within a margin 5-2, but Miguel Castro struck out pinch hitter Xander Bogaerts to end the threat.

Perez lasted five innings in his Red Sox debut, giving up five runs on six hits and walking two.

Hays and Alberto opened the game with back-to-back hits. Perez seemed to be working his way out of the jam after striking out Iglesias and getting Santander to line out, but Nunez doubled off the Green Monster, scoring Hays and Alberto.

“Martin didn’t really get those pitches where he wanted to,” Red Sox Manager Ron Roenicke said.

A wild pitch advanced Nunez to third and he scored when Rafael Devers mishandled Pedro Severino’s soft grounder to third.

The Red Sox were just 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position, stranding 10 runners. Their biggest bright spot was Alex Verdugo, who had three hits in his first start since coming over in the trade that sent Mookie Betts and David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Orioles: Left-hander John Means, who was scratched from the Opening Day start because of shoulder fatigue, expects to return July 30 against Miami. “My arm feels great right now,” Means said Saturday. … Reliever Hunter Harvey (right forearm strain) isn’t close to coming off the 10-day IL. “He’s still in a progression. He’s going to start playing catch here hopefully soon,” Manager Brandon Hyde said.

Red Sox: Shortstop Xander Bogaerts and catcher Christian Vazquez both got a day off. Roenicke said both are fine, but that it’s part of a plan to get his starters rest for day games that fall immediately after night games. The goal is to avoid early injuries, he said. Tzu-Wei Lin and Kevin Plawecki started in their place.


Red Sox right-hander Dylan Covey was sent to the reserve squad at Triple-A Pawtucket after the game. Roenicke said a corresponding move will happen Sunday. Covey pitched two innings, giving up three hits and two runs and striking out two. Boston also claimed left-hander Stephen Gonsalves off waivers from the New York Mets and optioned him Pawtucket.

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