Orioles 3, Red Sox 7: Singles Ain't Enough

Greg Fiume

Scott Feldman started off strong but gave up a three-run homer in the fourth, the offense couldn't sustain any rallies, and the bullpen let the Red Sox build upon their early lead.

After a short rain delay, Scott Feldman opened the game by retiring the Red Sox in order on three ground balls. Ryan Dempster nearly matched him, throwing fewer pitches despite walking Nick Markakis with two outs. The second inning was similarly uneventful, as Feldman walked Ortiz but followed with three consecutive outs, and the Orioles went down in order.

The Red Sox scored the game's first run in the third. Stephen Drew led off with a hard single to right; a good play off the wall by Markakis kept him from trying for a double. Jose Iglesias moved him over with a groundout to first, and Jacoby Ellsbury singled to left to put runners on the corners with one out. Ellsbury stole second, and Shane Victorino drove in Drew with a groundout, but Dustin Pedroia also grounded out, ending the inning. 1-0 Red Sox.

In the bottom of the third, the O's had their first of several abortive rallies. The BABIP gods were not kind to Henry Urrutia and Brian Roberts, who lined out to short and first, respectively. With two outs, Nate McLouth singled to right and Manny Machado walked, but Nick Markakis flied out to center.

In the fourth, Scott Feldman recorded two outs before an extended battle with Mike Carp ended in a single. Jarrod Saltalamacchia then singled on the first pitch he saw, and Stephen Drew hit a three-run shot to right field. Jose Iglesias followed with an infield single and stole second, and while Jacoby Ellsbury lined out to first, the O's now found themselves in a 4-0 hole. They did themselves no favors in the bottom half, being set down in order by Ryan Dempster.

The BABIP gods decided to make things right in the fifth, as a couple of lineouts went Feldman's way, and he had an easy inning despite walking David Ortiz again. The O's best chance to catch up came next, as three straight singles by J.J. Hardy, Henry Urrutia, and Brian Roberts drove in the Orioles' first run of the night. With no outs and runners on the corners, Nate McLouth struck out, and Manny Machado benefited from a generously called 0-2 ball only to ground into a double play on the next pitch, quickly squelching the rally.

With the score now 4-1, Troy Patton came on in relief and gave up a leadoff infield single to Mike Carp. Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounded out to third on a great play by Machado, but Stephen Drew hit his second homer of the night, giving the Red Sox a 6-1 lead. In the bottom of the sixth, the O's would once again manage only one run despite a rally, as Nick Markakis led off with a single to right-center. Adam Jones struck out, but Chris Davis singled to right, allowing Markakis to advance to third. After an otherwise-good at-bat, Matt Wieters reached for ball four, grounding to second and driving in the Orioles' second run while barely avoiding a double play. J.J. Hardy popped out to short, leaving another runner on base.

In the seventh, Shane Victorino led off with a homer on the first pitch from Jairo Asencio, who retired the next three batters on two strikeouts and a groundout (another Machado gem). In perhaps the most entertaining part of the night for O's fans, David Ortiz, one of those strikeout victims, had a temper tantrum and smashed a phone box in the visitors' dugout. With two outs in the bottom of the inning, Nate McLouth benefited from a (perhaps phantom) hit-by-pitch, but Manny flied out to right.

Brian Matusz came on for the eighth and gave up a lead-off double to Mike Carp, but followed up with three easy outs. The O's followed with their third one-run rally, as Adam Jones singled and Chris Davis walked with one out. Matt Wieters then flied out to right on the first pitch, but J.J. Hardy hit a slow bouncer to short, and Stephen Drew - taking a break from his Oriole-killing rampage - bobbled and kicked it, allowing a run to score. Henry Urrutia ended things with a fly ball to left.

Recent acquisition Francisco Rodriguez walked Dustin Pedroia with two down in the nith, but got former Oriole Brandon Snyder to fly out. Our beloved Koji Uehara came on to pitch the bottom half despite the game not being in a save situation. He didn't have the pinpoint command I remember, but got around a one-out double by Nate McLouth without allowing a run. O's lose, 7-3.

That double by McLouth was the only extra-base hit the Orioles managed tonight, and it's awfully tough to win ballgames without doubles and homers when your opponents hit three of the latter. Feldman had a bad inning, and the bullpen couldn't keep it close, but the offense bears most of the blame for this one. How much of that was their own struggles - they looked great yesterday - and how much was Ryan Dempster's splitter is hard to tell. Regardless, the O's will have to try to win the rubber match tomorrow, but with Jason Hammel facing Jon Lester, it's hard to be optimistic.

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