BOSTON — David Ortiz has even run out of ways to talk about his red-hot return.
Ortiz had two hits and three RBIs to extend his torrid start after a long layoff, and Felix Doubront overcame a wild first inning to pitch into the seventh as the Boston Red Sox beat the struggling Houston Astros 8-4 on Saturday night.
“I ain’t talking about that anymore,” said Ortiz, joking with the media as he dressed quickly in front of his locker. “You make up a new question, I’ll answer it. Otherwise, copy what I said yesterday and the day before.”
The 37-year old Ortiz made quite a return in his first seven games. He is hitting .519 (14 of 27) with two homers and nine RBIs since getting back into the lineup last Saturday after missing the 71 of the final 72 games last season and all of spring training with a heel injury.
“He’s doing things that look to him to be very easy, but its hard to imagine or even script out that he’d have this kind of performance considering the layoff,” Red Sox manager John Farrell said.
It was 14th win in 19 games for the surging Red Sox (17-7). Boston can tie a club record for the most wins in April by completing a four-game sweep over Houston (7-17) on Sunday.
The Astros, coming off 56 and 55 wins seasons the last two, respectively, in the National League, are finding their new league just as tough.
“I don’t get caught up in the record,” Astros first-year manager Bo Porter said. “I deal with each day, each game, one game at a time.”
Boston matched its best start since 2002 with its fourth straight win.
The Red Sox went 18-8 in April 1998 and 2003.
Jacoby Ellsbury had a two-run single for the Red Sox. Dustin Pedroia and Daniel Nava each added two hits and an RBI.
Doubront (3-0) walked three in the first, hit a batter, and had a wild pitch before settling down to hold the Astros to three runs, four hits, striking out eight and walking four over 6 2-3 innings.
“Seriously, I don’t know what happened in the first inning,” Doubront said. “I was feeling like I was using more of my arm than my body. I was frustrated because I was thinking a little too much. But overall, after the first inning, I was really focused and I wasn’t thinking about my mechanics at all. I was throwing the ball. I was so happy I did that.”
Houston starter Brad Peacock (1-3) gave up five runs on six hits in 3 2-3 innings. He hasn’t gone past five innings in each of his five starts.
“I know we’ve got to start doing better,” he said. “I’m just going to keep working and hopefully I can get out of this.”
Doubront retired 17 of 19 batters after the rough beginning. He was pulled with a runner on in the seventh. Alex Wilson escaped a bases-loaded, eighth-inning jam and Andrew Miller pitched the ninth.
Trailing 2-0, Boston scored four runs in the second on Ellsbury’s two-run single and Ortiz’s two-run double into the left field corner.
Ortiz’s sacrifice fly made it 5-2 in the fourth after Nava doubled leading off and advanced on Pedroia’s ground out to second.
Jose Altuve’s run-scoring ground out cut it to 5-3 in the seventh.
Stephen Drew, Nava and Pedroia each had RBI singles in the seventh.
The Astros took advantage of Doubront’s wild first to grab their first lead of the series. Doubront hit Brandon Barnes after a leadoff single before walking Brandon Laird. He then walked Chris Carter, forcing in a run, before Ronny Cedeno’s sacrifice fly made it 2-0. The left-hander walked the next batter on four pitches, but got the final two outs easily.
ORIOLES 7, ATHLETICS 3
OAKLAND, Calif. — Nick Markakis and Adam Jones hit back-to-back home runs in the fourth inning, Chris Tillman pitched six innings for his first win of the season.
Nate McLouth also homered for Baltimore, which is 3-0 on its 11-game road trip and in position for its first four-game sweep in Oakland since 1987.
Tillman (1-1) scattered seven hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. He also had to bat in the seventh inning after an injury to catcher Taylor Teagarden forced the Orioles to abandon their DH. He struck out.
Josh Donaldson matched his career high with four hits and two RBIs. The A’s have lost four straight and eight of nine.
Oakland starter A.J. Griffin (2-2) allowed only five hits in seven innings but gave up two home runs for the second straight start.
YANKEES 5, BLUE JAYS 4
NEW YORK — Travis Hafner hit a three-run homer, then lumbered around the bases for a go-ahead triple in the seventh inning that sent CC Sabathia and the Yankees over the Blue Jays.
Vernon Wells delivered another key hit against his former team as the Yankees beat Toronto for the third straight day. With Mariano Rivera getting a day off to rest, Joba Chamberlain worked around a pair of one-out singles in the ninth for his first save since 2010.
Jose Bautista and Brett Lawrie homered for the Blue Jays, who dropped to 1-5 on their seven-game road trip.
Esmil Rodgers (1-2) was the loser.
Sabathia (4-2) allowed three earned runs and nine hits in eight innings. He walked none, struck out four and improved to 14-4 overall against Toronto.
TWINS 7, RANGERS 2
MINNEAPOLIS — Pedro Hernandez pitched five shutout innings for his first major league win, Josh Willingham homered and the Twins beat the Rangers to end a three-game slide.
Anthony Swarzak, Brian Duensing and Jared Burton each work a scoreless inning before Glen Perkins struggled in the ninth, giving up a two-run double to Mitch Moreland.
Derek Holland (1-2) gave up five hits and four runs — three earned in seven innings for Texas, which lost for just the second time in nine games.
Hernandez (1-0) was making just his second start — and fourth appearance — for the Twins. His first start was April 7. He allowed just five hits and struck out three. After getting into a third-inning jam, Hernandez retired eight of the final nine hitters he faced.
RAYS 10, WHITE SOX 4
CHICAGO — Matt Moore became the first Tampa Bay pitcher to win five games in April as the Rays snapped a two-game losing streak with a victory over the White Sox.
The left-hander joined Boston’s Clay Buchholz as the only five-game winners this month. He allowed just three hits, one earned run and matched a season high nine strikeouts in six innings of work.
Moore’s 1.13 ERA is second-lowest in the majors behind St. Louis right hander Jake Westbrook (0.98).
Gavin Floyd (0-4) left the game with two outs in the third with a flexor muscle strain in his right elbow. He threw just 47 pitches, gave up two hits and two earned runs.
MARINERS 3, ANGELS 2
SEATTLE — Kendrys Morales snapped a 2-all tie with a pinch-hit RBI single in the seventh inning, Felix Hernandez allowed just one earned run and five hits over eight innings, and the Mariners beat the Angels.
The Mariners were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position and suffering through another miserable night without clutch hitting before Morales’ line-drive single off reliever Michael Roth that scored Kyle Seager with the go-ahead run. Jesus Montero hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning for Seattle to pull the Mariners even.
That was all Hernandez (3-2) needed. He stumbled only in the third inning when Chris Iannetta led off with a solo homer and the Angels added an unearned run. Hernandez won at home for the first time this season.
ROYALS 3, INDAINS 2
KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Ervin Santana pitched seven scoreless innings, Salvador Perez hit a two-run homer and the Royals held on to beat the Indians.
Santana (3-1), who was acquired in an Oct. 31 trade with Anaheim for minor-league pitcher Brandon Sisk, allowed six singles, struck out five and walked none.
Greg Holland, who logged his sixth save in seven opportunities, gave up two unearned runs in the ninth on a Michael Brantley two-out triple, which scored Mark Reynolds, who had an infield single, and Lonnie Chisenhall, who reached on Eric Hosmer’s error. Holland struck out Jason Kipnis to end the game.
The Indians have scored three runs or less in eight of their past 10 games and 13 times this season, going 3-10 in those games.
Scott Kazmir (0-1), who was making his second big league start in two years, was charged the loss.
TIGERS 7, BRAVES 4
DETROIT — Omar Infante and Jhonny Peralta both hit two-run homers, and Rick Porcello bounced back from a nightmarish start last weekend to pitch into the seventh inning, helping the Tigers to a win over the Braves.
Infante’s homer off Kris Medlen (1-3) broke a 3-all tie in the fourth. Porcello (1-2) allowed three runs in 6 1-3 innings. He didn’t make it through the first last Saturday at Los Angeles, when he gave up nine runs to the Angels.
Atlanta’s Justin Upton hit his major league-leading 12th homer in the eighth, but Infante doubled home a run in the bottom half and scored to make it 7-4.
Harper powers Nationals
WASHINGTON — Bryce Harper homered and singled, Dan Haren had his best start of the young season and the Washington Nationals beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-3.
Denard Span and Jayson Werth each had two hits for Washington, which has won the first three games of the four-game set.
Haren (2-3) didn’t quite match Jordan Zimmermann’s one-hitter and Gio Gonzalez’s impressive eight innings of one-hit ball the previous two games, but he was sharp enough. Haren allowed two runs and six hits over six innings, lowering his ERA from 7.36 to 6.29.
Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless ninth for his seventh save.
Brandon Phillips had three singles and Shin-Soo Choo homered for Cincinnati, which has lost four of five.
PHILLIES 9, METS 4
NEW YORK — Domonic Brown and John Mayberry Jr. hit consecutive home runs to break open a close game and the Phillies beat the Mets, sending Jonathan Pettibone to his first major league win.
Ryan Howard knocked in two runs, Jimmy Rollins scored twice and Michael Young had three hits — two that never left the infield — for the second straight day. Pettibone (1-0) pitched his way out of an important jam to help Philadelphia improve to 4-1 against the Mets after losing the season series last year.
Shaun Marcum (0-1) went four innings in his Mets debut after beginning the season on the disabled list with a neck injury and right biceps tendinitis. John Buck hit his eighth homer in the ninth, way too late to prevent New York from dropping to 3-5 on a nine-game homestand with its third straight defeat.
PIRATES 5, CARDINALS 3
ST. LOUIS — Russell Martin hit a two-run home run to highlight a four-run seventh inning and the Pirates rallied to beat the Cardinals.
The comeback gave A.J. Burnett (2-2) his second victory over St. Louis in 10 days. He gave up two runs and five hits in six innings. His six strikeouts expanded his team record for month of April to a league-leading 48. Burnett threw seven shutout innings in a 5-0 win over St. Louis on April 17.
St. Louis starter Jake Westbrook left after six innings with a 2-0 lead in search of his 100th career victory. He struck out six and scattered six hits to lower his ERA to 0.98 in four starts.
The Pirates had three consecutive hits against Joe Kelly (0-1) to lead off the seventh and were aided by a hit by pitch and a walk to score four runs.
CUBS 3, MARLINS 2
MIAMI — David DeJesus hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning to help lift the Cubs to a win over the struggling Marlins.
Travis Wood (2-1) pitched six innings allowing two runs and struck out five for Chicago, which has won four of five.
Three relievers held the lead to get to Kevin Gregg, who pitched a perfect ninth for his third save.
Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton hit his first home run of the season, an estimated 472-foot drive over the left-field scoreboard. Miguel Olivo also homered for Miami, which dropped to 5-19, the worst record in baseball.
BREWERS 6, DODGERS 4
LOS ANGELES — Carlos Gomez and Martin Maldonado each hit two-run home runs to propel the Brewers to a victory over the Dodgers.
Gomez’s homer off reliever Matt Guerrier in the seventh inning erased a 3-2 deficit and Maldonado added his blast an inning later, also off Guerrier, to give the Brewers the cushion they needed.
The comeback overshadowed the major league debut of Dodgers starter Matt Magill.
Magill pitched 6 2-3 innings, striking out seven while retiring 12 of the last 13 batters he faced.
Paco Rodriguez replaced Magill and gave up an infield single to Norichika Aoki. Guerrier (1-1) replaced Rodriguez and gave up Gomez’s shot to left field.
The Brewers’ Wily Peralta (2-1) gave up three earned runs on six hits over 6 innings with one walk and two strikeouts.
DIAMONDBACKS 3, ROCKIES 2, 10 innings
PHOENIX — Cody Ross’ sacrifice fly to center field drove in A.J. Pollock with the winning run in the bottom of the 10th inning, lifting the Diamondbacks over the Rockies.
Pollock led off the inning with a single off Edgmer Escalona (1-1).
With one out, he stole second base and went to third on a throwing error by Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario. The Rockies then intentionally walked Miguel Montero to have Escalona face Ross.
Ross hit a ball more than 400 feet to center that gave the Rockies had no chance to throw out the speedy Pollock.
Arizona won its sixth extra-inning game without a defeat this season.
Closer J.J. Putz (2-0) earned the win with a scoreless top of the 10th.
PADRES 8, GIANTS 7, 12 innings
SAN DIEGO — Yonder Alonso scored the winning run when San Francisco second baseman Marco Scutaro couldn’t come up with Nick Hundley’s grounder, lifting the Padres to a victory over the Giants.
Alonso reached base with his third double of the game, went to third on Jedd Gyorko’s single and scored on Scutaro’s miscue. The loss is the Giants’ fourth straight, and their third extra-inning defeat in four games.
Sergio Romo (1-2) took the loss.
Joe Thatcher (1-0) pitched the 12th inning giving up two hits for the win.
San Diego trailed 5-0 before rallying for six runs in the fourth inning. Alonso and Chris Denorfia each had two-run doubles.