Today’s game against the Orioles was strikingly similar to another game against the Orioles– a 17 inning affair on May 6 of this season. In both games there was plenty of scoring early on, and it was tied 6-6 heading into extra innings. The only real difference between the two games was that today’s only lasted 12 innings before the Orioles got a rally going. Adam Jones‘ leadoff double started a very painful inning for the Red Sox as disaster struck three times– on a go ahead RBI double by Jim Thome, then twice more on RBI singles by Endy Chavez and Manny Machado.
Those blows ended what previously had looked like a promising game for the Fenway Faithful. The pitching wasn’t really there to start off the game as Aaron Cook and Randy Wolf each faltered to start things out. The Orioles got a run in the first, but the Red Sox struck back immediately, tying things up in the bottom half on a bloop single for Ryan Lavarnway– scoring Dustin Pedroia from second base. The Orioles would nab another run in the top of the second when rookie Manny Machado drove in Chris Davis with a single to give the O’s a 2-1 advantage.
The Orioles made that 3-1 on a high home run over the monster by Mark Reynolds, leading off the fourth inning. They wouldn’t hold that lead for long though, as the Red Sox would counter that in the bottom of the fourth, however, when Danny Valencia crushed a home run– his 3rd of the year and 1st in a Red Sox uniform– to deep left to tie things up at 3-3. It stayed there for a couple of innings, until Cook’s departure from the game actually. The sinker-baller had yet another disappointing performance as he allowed 9 hits and 3 runs in 5.1 innings pitched.
As soon as Cook left, though, Rich Hill allowed some damage of his own when Ryan Flaherty promptly knocked an two-run triple into the triangle in deep center field to give the Orioles a 5-3 lead. The Orioles kept on battering the Boston relievers, as Adam Jones led off the next inning with a home run off Clayton Mortensen. At that point, the O’s looked to have almost a certain win with the way the Red Sox bats had been performing, but that was far from the case.
The Red Sox started off the inning by loading the bases with no outs off of Orioles reliever Jake Arrietta. Ultimately, it’s a shame that the Red Sox weren’t able to do more with that opportunity but two productive outs (groundouts by Cody Ross and Ryan Lavarnway) were enough to cut it to a one run game in Boston. The Sox kept fighting in the bottom of the eighth, though, putting together a two out rally off premier set up man Pedro Strop (exited today’s game with a 2.37 ERA). The inning culminated with Scott Podsednik driving Daniel Nava home with a game tying double off the base of the green monster in left to make it 6-6.
From that point on, it was a war of attrition between the Red Sox’ and Orioles’ bullpens. The Red Sox got quality relief work from Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Bailey, and Mark Melancon (all throwing scoreless, hitless innings) before disaster struck in the 12th. That was when Alfredo Aceves and Chris Carpenter combined to allow the eventual game-winning three run inning that sealed the Sox’ fate.