If the Baltimore Orioles had given Adam Jones a night off it might have been a different outcome for John Lackey and the Red Sox. Jones was, however, in the lineup and his presence combined with a sleepy parade of Boston bats added up to a 6-0 Orioles win while the Rays pounded the Yankees 10-6 to push 1/2 game ahead of the Red Sox and into first place in the AL East.
It was a festive playoff baseball atmosphere at Camden Yards when the Red Sox and Orioles tangled in game one of their three-game set Friday night. Unlike years past when the Sox traveled so well and Camden Yards felt like a Boston home game, Oriole Park was awash in rowdy orange-clad fans. The Birds did not let them down.
When the Orioles’ Chris Tillman faced off against the Boston’s John Lackey it didn’t take long for Baltimore to exert their will. With two outs in the first inning Nick Markakis singled, Adam Jones went the other way and plopped a bomb into the right field bleachers to put the Os up 2-0. Tillman, 12-3 going into Friday’s game, took over from there and the Birds never looked back.
Jones got to Lackey again in the fifth inning, again with two outs. This time it was a solo shot but the result and ball placement were the same. Lackey missed upstairs, Jones sat back on the pitch and flicked the ball into the right field stands to put Baltimore up 4-0.
Manny Machado contributed to Lacky’s long ball-itis and the end of his night in the bottom of the seventh, crushing a Lackey meatball into the left-field bleachers.
On the other side of the coin, Tillam gave the Orioles seven complete, two-hit shutout innings. In the end it was all Os and no Sox, a nasty loss made all the more smelly by Boston’s drop to second place.