Orioles - 621 000 300 - 12 17 1 Red Sox - 001 310 000 - 5 11 1Steven Wright plunked Seth Smith in the right thigh with his first pitch of the night. It was perhaps a sign that things would not go smoothly for the Red Sox knuckleballer.
Wright uncorked a wild pitch before striking out Adam Jones. Manny Machado doubled to center. Chris Davis grounded out, but Wright's outing went straight downhill after that. Mark Trumbo singled to right, making it 2-0. Welington Castillo singled and Trey Mancini crushed a three-run homer to right-center. Jonathan Schoop followed that with a solo dong on Wright's next pitch. After J.J. Hardy singled, Wright finally recorded the third out, as Smith lined to left.
(Wright had a tough time in the first inning last season as well, posting a 5.64 ERA, compared to 2.25, 0.38, and 1.50 in the second, third, and fourth, respectively. For what it's worth, the fifth inning was his worst frame (5.82) and the sixth was little better (5.29).)
Jones opened the second inning with a long home run to left and after Machado grounded to short, Davis homered over the visitors' bullpen. The score was 8-0 - and Wright's night was done: 1.1-8-8-0-1, 34 (4 HR). Mancini hit his second dong of the game, leading off the third against Ben Taylor, who actually pitched very well in relief, allowing only three hits and one run in 3.2 innings.
The Red Sox began crawling back in the bottom of the third. Chris Young doubled and Sandy Leon singled. After Dustin Pedroia lined out to right, Andrew Benintendi's sac fly to left scored Young. Hanley Ramirez began the next inning with a double and scored on Xander Bogaerts's one-out single. Sandoval followed with a two-run bomb and it was 9-4.
Boston's only real chance at reclaiming the lead was in the fifth. Orioles starter Ubaldo Jimenez walked Benintendi on four pitches. With one out, Ramirez grounded a single into center and Jimenez walked Mitch Moreland on four pitches. Baltimore manager Buck Showalter pulled Jimenez (4.1-8-5-2-1, 104) and called on the hard-throwing Mychal Givens. Bogaerts looked at two balls and then fouled off five consecutive pitches before lining a single to left that dropped in front of Mancini, who seemed to pull up at the last minute. Ramirez scored, making it 9-5, and Boston brought the potential tying run to the plate (something that seemed impossible a couple of innings earlier). But Sandoval struck out on three pitches and Young flied harmlessly to center.
Baltimore closed the lid on the Red Sox's coffin with three runs in the seventh. Fernando Abad gave up a single to Davis before Joe Kelly allowed a single to Trumbo and a two-run double to Castillo. After Mancini struck out, Schoop singled Castillo home. Kelly did retire the Orioles in order in the eighth, the only inning in which Baltimore did not have at least one baserunner.
The Red Sox did not make much noise in the final four innings. In the bottom of the seventh, facing Donnie Hart, Moreland doubled with one out and Bogaerts singled, but Sandoval fouled to the catcher and Young fanned. Vidal Nuno walked Ramirez and Moreland in the ninth, but that only prolonged the inevitable.
Moreland has now doubled in six straight games (he has seven doubles this season). Since 1913, only three other Red Sox players have doubled in six straight games: David Ortiz (May 21-28, 2016), Jason Varitek (August 21-September 1, 2004), and Bill Regan (August 23-27, 1929).
The Red Sox are now 4-4. They host the Pirates tomorrow afternoon at 2 PM.
Pedroia, 2BBaseball Prospectus's Brett Cowett looks at a few of John Farrell's managerial decisions during the recent series against the Tigers, saying that Farrell's managing late in games "wasn't always proactive".
A couple of those games were very winnable, yet the Red Sox lost both, and ended up winning just one of the four games against the Tigers. Most of the gripes stemmed from the loss on April 9th, which saw the Sox score five runs in the top of the 8th inning, only to give up the lead in the bottom part of the frame. So let's take a deeper look at that.Alex Speier notes (in his must-read daily 108 Stitches newsletter):
After just 2.1 innings, Phillies starter Clay Buchholz bounced a 70 m.p.h. pitch in front of the plate, shook his arm, and walked off the mound with a trainer at his side with what Phillies manager Pete Mackanin called a strained flexor tendon. Jim Salisbury of CSN Philly writes that Buchholz will land on the DL and undergo an MRI on Wednesday.In other news, Buck Showalter is a dick:
I don't know where we are with the flu today. ... Everybody in the league has had that issue. ... [N]obody really wants to hear somebody else complain about it. Our guys have done a good job not broadcasting it to the world.