BALTIMORE — Christian Arroyo knew he would get extended time at second base with Trevor Story out. His teammate’s broken right wrist was Arroyo’s chance to make the most of an opportunity.
He continued doing just that in a 4-3 victory over the Orioles at Camden Yards Saturday. Arroyo went 3 for 5, and his RBI double in the ninth ultimately decided the game.
“That is a good ball club, the Orioles,” Arroyo said. “But late in the game against anyone, in close games, it’s always good to push a couple of insurance runs across there.”
Arroyo is batting .397 (29 for 73) with eight extra-base hits since coming off the injured list on July 30, raising his average to .291 and OPS to .769. Arroyo has three three-hit games in his last four starts.
“I just try to come in and work my process every day and let the results just kind of happen,” he said. “I think I’ve made some adjustments, looking back at some video. Some things timing-wise have helped me out a little bit in simplifying things.”
Arroyo’s timely hit was made possible because of what preceded it.
Ramon Urias and Jorge Mateo each singled to right to begin the seventh. The latter was collected cleanly by Jarren Duran, but thrown back in lazily. The throw short-hopped cutoff man Xander Bogaerts and skipped past him, allowing both runners to advance. Each scored — first on a Kyle Stowers groundout, then on a Schreiber wild pitch — to make it 3-2.
In the ninth, Duran made up for his seventh-inning shortcoming with a one-out bunt single. The Sox executed a perfect hit and run. Kevin Plawecki singled to right and Duran put his speed to use, going first to third. That set the table for Arroyo.
“We tried to take advantage of the situation, putting on action after action,” manager Alex Cora said.
After the teams combined for 25 runs in an offensive feast Friday, Saturday began with quality starting pitching. In his second start since coming off the injured list, Michael Wacha (8-1) dominated once more, throwing 5⅔ scoreless innings. Much like the Yankees a week ago, the Orioles had no answer for the righthander.
“I’m just trying to pick up where I left off,” Wacha said, “and that’s getting ahead of guys and then putting them away as quickly as possible.”
Wacha allowed four hits, all singles, struck out four and walked one in an efficient 79 pitches, dropping his ERA to 2.28.
“‘You look up and his numbers are real,” Cora said. “He’s pitching five, six, and seven innings. Complete games when it matters and we missed him for a while.”
Likewise, Kyle Bradish (1-5) held the Sox in check until the fifth inning. Plawecki lined a one-out single to right field, then went first to third when Arroyo delivered the same and scored when Alex Verdugo made it three straight.
In the sixth, J.D. Martinez led off with a single against Bradish. After Bobby Dalbec — in after Eric Hosmer departed with lower back pain — struck out, Kiké Hernández tagged a two-run homer that stayed just fair down the left field line. It was Hernández’s fifth homer of the season and his first since coming off the IL.
“It’s a lot of battling right now from the get-go because you know my timing is not what I want it to be,” Hernández said. “It’s not necessarily ideal, but I just needed to be back and help this team in whatever way. To be able to do it at the plate feels pretty good.”
Garrett Whitlock pitched the final two innings, working around Jorge Mateo’s triple and a groundout making it 4-3 in the ninth.
The Sox (60-61) have a chance at a fourth straight series victory on Sunday with Nick Pivetta taking the mound in Williamsport, Pa., in MLB’s fifth annual Little League Classic.