The defense was every bit as sloppy as it has been all year. The pitching was worse than it has been most of the season, especially the bullpen. But, in Boston last night, the Orioles rediscovered an old friend—the offense—as they beat the Red Sox 8-6 in 10 innings, to take game 1 of a 3-game series.
It didn’t look like the offense was going to show early on, as JJ Hardy was left stranded after a 1-out triple in the first. But in the 3rd, the O’s picked up RBI singles by the 2 men who’d left Hardy 90 feet away 2 innings earlier, Adam Jones and Matt Wieters.
That would be the first of two, 2-run leads the Orioles would surrender to the Sox, who were aided by both physical and mental errors by the birds in the bottom of the 5th. Daniel Nava and Mike Aviles opened the inning against Orioles starter Jason Hammel, with back-to-back singles. Scott Podsednik then laid down a sacrifice bunt toward first baseman Mark Reynolds, who decided, unwisely, to try to nab Nava at 3rd. The throw was too late to get Nava, and was also missed by third baseman Steve Tolleson, allowing Nava to score, and Aviles and Podsednik to advance. With none out and runners at 2nd and 3rd, Dustin Pedroia hit a fly ball to shallow center that was caught by Jones. Aviles tagged and tested Jones’ arm. But with his momentum taking him to his left, Jones’ throw was slightly off to the first base side of the plate, and short-hopped Wieters, who couldn’t grab it. With the score tied at 2, Hammel pitched his way out of trouble, getting Adrian Gonzalez, intentionally walking David Ortiz, and striking out Kevin Youkilis, the final batter he faced.
The Orioles put Hammel in a position to get the win in the 6th on a leadoff double by Wieters, a bunt single by Reynolds that shocked everyone, and a sac fly from newcomer Steve Pearce. But Troy Patton gave up a pair of runs on a walk, 2 singles and a sac fly in the bottom half of the inning, making it 4-3 Boston.
The Orioles tied it with 3-straight hits to begin the 7th, from Endy Chavez, Robert Andino, and Hardy. 1-out later, Wieters walked, and Reynolds and Pearce followed with RBI singles, giving the birds another 2-run cushion, at 6-4.
They would hold that lead until the 9th. Closer Jim Johnson was called upon to close things out, as he’d done perfectly in 17 chances this year. Gonzalez grounded out to start the inning. Ortiz singled, and Youkilis popped out. Down to his last strike, Sox catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a home run over the Green Monster, a ball that a fan touched, that hit atop the wall, and bounced back onto the field. Manager Buck Showalter argued the initial home run call, but umpires correctly upheld the call after reviewing the play, and the game was tied.
The Orioles would put together another rally in the 10th. Reynolds led off with a walk, and was moved up to 2nd on Pearce’s sac bunt. Ronny Paulino grounded a single to center, delivering Reynolds for the go-ahead run. Pinch-hitter Ryan Flaherty singled Paulino to 3rd, and Chavez picked up a huge insurance run, plating Paulino with a single to right. Johnson returned for the bottom of the 10th, getting Nava, Aviles, and Podsednik, 1-2-3.
Game 2 of the series will feature Wei-Yin Chen for the Orioles, vs. Boston’s Josh Beckett. First pitch is at 7:10 Wednesday.
- 5 Orioles had multi-hit games, led by Chavez’s 3.
- Only one starter failed to either score or knock in a run. (Tolleson)
- The Orioles were 8-17 (.471) with runners in scoring position.
- Hammel’s pitch count reached 106 through 5 innings, forcing Showalter to go to the bullpen earlier than he’d liked to.
- The defense didn’t help Hammel, especially in the 5th. Reynolds should have gone to 1st on Podsednik’s sac bunt. The throw itself was a poor one, but one Tolleson should have handled.