After the seven run eighth inning of Sunday’s thrilling victory over the Athletics, the Red Sox had a dose of reality over the last two games, namely, that it is harder to play teams who aren’t also at the bottom of their division. After two runs in the span of 18 innings (1 scoring on an error) and getting two runners thrown out on the bases last night, the Red Sox looked to bounce back behind starter Wade Miley (5-5, 4.67, 2.1 IP, 6 ER (L) vs. O’s on 4/26)) against the Orioles starter Chris Tillman (3-7, 5.61, 5.1 IP, 1 ER (W) vs. Sox on 4/18). The Red Sox put up a good fight but the Orioles prevailed, 6-5.
After the Orioles made two sparkling defensive plays in the top of the first, Miley got the Red Sox in a quick hole in the bottom of the first. Manny Machado led off with a single but Miley promptly picked him off first base. This saved a run because one batter later Adam Jones hammered a solo home run to left field to give Baltimore a 1-0 lead. The Orioles would continue to pour it on in the second, adding a run on three more hits. One thing that plagued Miley all night was the long ball. It became 3-0 in the second inning on Nolan Reimold‘s first home run of the season just out of the outstretched glove of Betts in center field. Another RBI single in the third for Baltimore made it 4-0.
The Red Sox got themselves back in the game in the top of the fourth inning, loading the bases with nobody out. Mike Napoli drove in the first run of the night with a sacrifice fly to center field. Pablo Sandoval had a clutch two out two run double, to make the score 4-3. It appeared Miley was going to get them back in the clubhouse with a shutdown inning, but Machado hit a two-out solo home run to make the score 5-3. With Steven Wright warming for the Red Sox in the bullpen, Miley finished the fourth inning. When Miley returned to the dugout and Manager John Farrell told him he would be coming out of the game, Miley exploded appearing to point out the fact that Wright had been warming up already.
The Red Sox strung together three hits to plate another run in the sixth inning courtesy of a single by Xander Bogaerts. In the bottom of the seventh, an error to lead off the inning on another high throw by Sandoval, pushed the score to 6-4 again. David Ortiz showed some signs of life in the top of the eighth inning. Fireballing O’s reliever Chaz Roe decided to try a curveball on Ortiz which he hung and, for a change, Ortiz did not miss it, depositing a solo homer half way up the right field stands to make the score 6-5.
In the top of the ninth, Blake Swihart managed to keep hope alive by beating out a dribbler to third base with two out. Baltimore closer Zach Britton unleashed his devastating 95 mph sinker to strike out Dustin Pedroia to end the game after three foul balls on 0-2, sending the Red Sox back to 27-34, tying their season low of seven games below .500.
Tomorrow night, the Red Sox return to Fenway to face Toronto, winners of eight games in a row. Toronto’s streak started when they were 23-30. Do the Red Sox have a run like that still in them? Though some life was shown tonight, it will be surprising if the Red Sox can make it happen.
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- Bogaerts and Pedroia turned in sparkling diving plays to record outs in tonight’s game. Pedroia’s saved a run.
- Bogaerts also made an accurate throw to Swihart to nail Jones at home plate after a ball clanked off Betts glove in center field.
- Red Sox fell to 9-25 in games in which the other team scored first.
- Ortiz’ home run tonight broke a 69 at-bat homerless drought
- Tazawa lowered his ERA tonight to 1.33, retiring all four batters he faced
Miley turned in a dud of a start. The Red Sox eventually got to Tillman, so anything halfway decent from Miley could have resulted in a victory. The home run to Machado was an absolute crusher. Miley did limit some damage, but still gave up runs in each inning he worked, allowing three homers when he had only allowed four through his first 11 starts. Five runs on nine hits allowed is certainly worthy of a “D” grade.
Wright came in on Sunday to hold the Athletics down, and was effective again tonight, allowing an unearned run on one hit and two walks over 2.2 innings. Tonight the team could not come all the way back, but his effectiveness as a long man cannot be denied.
Sandoval’s key double to make the score 4-3, gave the Red Sox some hope which may spur the offense to get going after tonight. The team scored more in that inning than they had in the first 21 innings of this series, which speaks to how ineffective their offense has been in this series. Honorable mention to Swihart for beating out that dribbler in the ninth inning to keep things alive.