September 28, 2021

G157: Orioles 4, Red Sox 2

Red Sox - 010 001 000 - 2  3  2
Orioles - 000 003 01x - 4 9 0

Three hits. Three.

The Red Sox, owners of the third-best batting average and second-best slugging percentage in MLB, could gather only three hits against the majors' absolute worst team in hits allowed, H/9, and ERA. The Orioles, losers of 106+ games in each of the last three full seasons, won 4-2 on Tuesday night, beating Chris Sale for the first time in more than seven years.

Kyle Schwarber and Hunter Renfroe hit solo home runs, giving Boston a 2-0 lead in the top of the sixth inning. But in the bottom half, Sale allowed a leadoff single to Kelvin Gutierrez and a one-out dong to Ryan Mountcastle and the game was tied. Austin Hays singled and Sale's night was through. Two more singles off Hansel Robles put the Orioles on top 3-2.

Sale had not been charged with a loss against the Orioles since August 18, 2014. Before tonight, Sale was 8-0 with a 2.16 ERA in 11 starts for the Red Sox against Baltimore. 

Renfroe's home run leading off the sixth was the Red Sox's fifth and last player to reach base on Tuesday. The Orioles' bullpen retired the final 12 batters. After the Red Sox were set down in order on only four pitches in the eighth, Baltimore added an insurance run off Tanner Houck.

After winning their seventh consecutive game last Thursday, the Red Sox have:

fallen behind the Yankees 0-7 in the third inning and lost 3-8

blown a 2-1 lead by allowing four runs in the eighth and losing to the Yankees 3-5

blown a 3-2 lead by allowing four runs in the eighth and losing to the Yankees 3-6

blown a 2-0 lead by allowing three runs in the sixth and losing to the Orioles 2-4

It's pathetic, maddening, and embarrassing. And because tonight's late-in-the-season loss in a game it behooved the Red Sox to win was played against Baltimore, it caused at least one sportswriter to knee-jerkedly dredge up 2011.

It was the sixth game this season in which the Red Sox had three hits or fewer. One of those six games was Opening Day, when they went 2-for-29 in a loss to Baltimore.

The Yankees, after trailing 0-1 and 1-2 in the first four innings, beat the Blue Jays 7-2 (I noticed Toronto finished with only three hits), so the Wild Card standings look like this:

Yankees    90-67  +2.0
Red Sox    88-69  ----
Blue Jays  87-70   1.0
Mariners   87-70   1.5

The Mariners are hosting the Athletics and will be either 1.0 or 2.0 GB at the end of that game.

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