The Orioles squandered a chance to get back into first place today, as they lost the series finale against the Red Sox on a day when the Yankees also lost. The silver lining of course is that they didn't lose ground, but with just
twelve ten games left in the season, we are, to quote Jack Bauer, running out of time. But even with the loss, we got to see Dylan Bundy! So that was fun.
Chris Tillman was called on to start for the Orioles today and while he didn't have his best game, he was able to pitch six innings with just one run allowed. Unfortunately his Red Sox counterpart, Felix Doubront, was just as good, results-wise.
The Orioles went down 1-2-3 in the first inning before Tillman allowed two baserunners in the first, both on singles. He came back to the get the final two outs, then worked around a leadoff double by Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the second inning.
The only run that Tillman allowed in the game came as a result of an error by Robert Andino (although Tillman certainly put himself into a jam in the first place). Cody Ross singled to start the inning and the always fearsome James Loney walked. One out later, Danny Valencia hit a ground ball to J.J. Hardy at shortstop. Hardy went to Andino at second to force out Loney, but Andino made a bad throw to first that ruined the double play and allowed Ross to race home for the first run of the ballgame.
Tillman got out of the inning, and the Orioles came back to tie the game in the very next at-bat. That was a good thing, of course, but the bad part was the way they wasted their opportunity. A single from Lew Ford and a double by Chris Davis put runners on second and third for Manny Machado, who hit a pop up that fell between the second baseman and right fielder. Only Ford was able to score on the play since it wasn't clear if the ball would be caught or not. But still, tie game with runners on the corners and no outs! Now we're cooking!
Or...not. Doubront came back and retired Robert Andino and Nate McLouth on strikeouts, then got Hardy to ground out to end the inning. A fantastic chance, ruined.
After working through six innings, Tillman was Troy Patton, fresh off the disabled list. Patton retired the first two batters before giving up a single to Scott Podsednik. He was relieved by Luis Ayala, who induced a ground out from Ciricao for the final out.
Ayala came back to pitch the eighth inning and finally the Red Sox took the lead. Back-to-back doubles by Dustin Pedroia and Cody Ross plated the Sox' second run of the game, and Ayala was pulled from the game, Brian Matusz came in to face pinch hitter Mauro Gomez, and got him to fly out. Then...the big moment.
19-year-old Dylan Bundy was summoned from the bullpen to face Ryan Lavarnway, who pinch hit for Saltalamacchia. Drafted just one year ago and called up by the Orioles earlier this week, it was an exciting moment. And Bundy didn't let us down, retiring both of hitters he faced as he mixed up his 94-mph fastball with his 83-mph slider. He stranded his inherited runner and gave the Orioles a chance to come back in the ninth.
And well, the Orioles TRIED to come back in the ninth, but they fell short. Red Sox closer Andrew Bailey came into the game and immediately struggled with his control. He threw four straight balls to Matt Wieters, but the umpire inexplicably called it ball four. Although he also seemed to miss the third pitch, check it out here.
Matt grounded out on the next pitch, then Mark Reynolds singled to right field. The next scheduled batter was Lew Ford, but instead Buck sent Jim Thome to the plate. Thome came up big in yesterday's game, could he do it again? Yes!
Thome smoked a ball to right field that bounced into the stands for an automatic double. If Jim had gotten just a little more elevation on the ball it would have been a home run. If Fenway Park had a normal-sized fence in right field, it would have stayed in the park and Reynolds would have scored. Instead the Orioles had to settle for second and third with one out.
Bailey intentionally walked Chris Davis to load the bases and get to Machado. Manny had an absolutely terrible at bat, hitting a weak ground ball to first base which resulted in a force out at home. Ryan Flaherty pinch hit for Andino, and he watched strike three go by for the final out. The pitch was borderline, for sure, but too close to take in that situation.
And so now the Orioles head home from a nine-game road trip in which they went 6-3. Tomorrow is a double header back home against the Blue Jays, where the Orioles will have a chance to gain ground on the Yankees no matter what the Yankees do.