BALTIMORE — Buck Showalter had said many times that he believed Mark Reynolds’s bat would eventually catch fire at some point this season.
Reynolds, who averaged 37 homers the last three seasons, had built up too strong a power-hitting resume to remain in a funk, the Baltimore Orioles’ manager explained out loud.
And on Tuesday night — in the Orioles’ series opener against the Boston Red Sox at Camden Yards — the Orioles’ first baseman showed flashes of his former self.
Reynolds recorded his 15th career multihomer game with two homers on Tuesday night as Baltimore continued its recent dominance of the Red Sox, taking its seventh game in 11 contests against Boston this year with a 7-1 victory in front of an announced crowd of 26,204.
The win also kept the Orioles (63-53) in one of the two AL wild-card spots and put them 10 games over .500 for the first time since June 24. The tumbling Red Sox (57-60) fell 6½ back in the wild-card race.
It was Reynolds’s first multihomer game in nearly 11 months, his last one coming on Sept. 21, 2011, against the same Red Sox. He hit both of those off Tuesday’s starter, Josh Beckett.
The Orioles hit three homers off Red Sox pitching Tuesday night, including Reynolds’s three-run shot on Boston reliever Mark Melancon’s first delivery of the game, capping a five-run sixth inning that put the Orioles up 7-1.
Orioles left-handed starter Wei-Yin Chen rebounded from his roughest outing of the season, holding the Red Sox to one run over six-plus innings. In three outings against Boston this season, Chen is 2-0 with a 2.50 ERA and the Orioles have won all three games in which he has started.
As for Reynolds, who hit an opposite-field solo homer off Beckett in the fifth to put the Orioles up 2-1, he’s hitting .364 (8 for 22) over his last six games with five extra-base hits (three homers, two doubles) and seven RBI.
Tuesday’s start was his second in four games as Wilson Betemit moved over from third to start two games over the weekend with the addition of rookie third baseman Manny Machado.