In Sunday’s series finale at Fenway Park, the Orioles had two chances to tie the Red Sox or take the lead with the bases loaded in the ninth inning. Instead, the birds fell to Boston 2-1 as the Red Sox avoid the sweep.
Chris Tillman was very solid again, giving up one run on six hits and a walk in six innings. Tillman struck out four Sox batters, and was hurt by a Robert Andino error on a would-be double play. Andino bounced his relay throw to Mark Reynolds, allowing Cody Ross to score.
The O’s answered in the fifth. Lew Ford led off with a single off Red Sox starter Felix Doubront. Chris Davis’ double moved Ford up to third with no one out. Manny Machado blooped one into shallow right. Sox second baseman Pedro Ciriaco never got a good read on the ball, drifted into shallow right, and could not grab it. Ford scored to tie it at 1, and the Orioles had runners on first and third with no one out.
Needing a fly ball, or even a double play grounder to score another run, the birds fell flat. Andino was called out on strikes. Nate McLouth struck out swinging. And JJ Hardy grounded out to first. The O’s, who’ve been doing a nice job of cashing in at opportune moments, let a golden opportunity get away.
Reliever Luis Ayala was touched for the losing run in the eighth. Dustin Pedroia led off with a double to right, and scored on Cody Ross’ double high off the Green Monster, making it 2-1. Brian Matusz came on and retired pinch-hitter Mauro Gomez. Then, Buck Showalter went to the pen and ordered up the major league debut of 19 year old Dylan Bundy.
The top prospect got Ryan Lavarnway on a flyout to left, and Danny Valencia on a fly ball to right, to get the O’s back in the dugout.
In the ninth, the O’s again put themselves into a terrific position to steal the game.
On a 3-0 pitch, Matt Wieters thought Sox reliever Andrew Bailey had walked him with a pitch that appeared to be up and away. It was called a strike. On the next pitch, Wieters grounded out to second, for out number one. Mark Reynolds singled to left, and Jim Thome, pinch-hitting for Lew Ford, ripped a ground-rule double down the right field line. Bailey intentionally walked Davis, and the birds had the bases loaded with just one away.
But Machado hit a slow chopper to first, and Reynolds was forced out at the plate, for out number two. Pinch-hitter Ryan Flaherty then took a called third strike to end the game.
The O’s head back home after their 6-3 road trip. The O’s will face Toronto in a double header at Camden Yards Monday. Steve Johnson (3-0, 1.91) and Wei-Yin Chen (12-9, 3.98) pitch for the O’s, with Johnson starting game one at 4:05.
- Manny Machado’s defense was again on display. In the seventh, Machado dove to his right to snare a grounder, sprang to his feet, and fired across the diamond to nail speedy fellow rookie Pedro Ciriaco.
- Davis: 2/3, 1BB.
- Buck Showalter’s decision to send Endy Chavez out to run for Jim Thome after Thome’s pinch double. Now, Chavez is a better baserunner than Xavier Avery, but he’s not faster. Pure speed matters a lot in that situation. Not only that, but it forced Buck to then use Flaherty, the Rule 5 rookie, to pinch-hit for Andino. If Avery runs for Thome, Chavez hits for Andino. Easy to second guess, because things didn’t work out as they normally do.
- Speaking of Andino, he had a lousy game: 0/3, 3K, 4LOB, 1 very big error.
- Ayala (L, 5-5): 0.1 IP, 2H, 1R.