The Orioles lost a tough one tonight to the Red Sox, their second loss in as many games. Unlike last night, when the Orioles fell so far behind so quickly that it was easy to give up them, tonight they held a lead for most of the game before the Red Sox went ahead in the eighth inning and held the lead easily thanks to former Oriole and current Red Sox closer Koji Uehara.
The Orioles jumped out to a lead in the first inning thanks to an infield single by Manny Machado and a double by Chris Davis, but Davis was stranded at second. In the third inning, Brian Roberts walked and stole second base. He was dancing off of second and distracting John Lackey and just as I was thinking about how much fun he seemed to be having, he tried to steal third and was thrown out by a mile. Oh, Brian. Just a moment later Machado connected for a home run over the Green Monster to give the O's a 2-0 lead and could have been 3-0 if Brian had just stayed put.
Orioles starter Bud Norris was not great tonight, but he was what I have come to expect him to be. He managed to give up just one run despite walking four in just 5 1/3 innings pitched, and he threw 105 pitches despite having only one inning out of five in which he allowed more than one baserunner. He just threw pitch after pitch after pitch to the Red Sox, who as we all know are a very patient team.
The only run that scored against Norris was in the bottom of the third inning. He walked two and gave up two singles in the inning, resulting in one run in and the bases loaded with one out for David Ortiz. Somehow, instead giving up the grand slam I was waiting for, he struck him out and then struck out Daniel Nava to end the inning.
In the sixth inning the Orioles extended their lead to 3-1 on Chris Davis's 47th home run of the year. It was a mammoth shot hit to straight away center field. It was a pretty good night for Chris, who went 2-for-4 and made a couple nifty plays in the field.
Due to pitch count and general shakiness, Buck Showalter pulled Norris with one on and one out in the sixth inning. Francisco Rodriguez came in and needed to face just one batter to get out of the inning. Jarrod Saltalamacchia swung on the first pitch and hit into an inning ending double play.
The worst inning of the night was the seventh. Rodriguez was still pitching and Stephen Drew doubled before Xander Bogaerts hit a line drive right to Roberts for the first out. Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ball deep into the shortstop hole that J.J. Hardy just got a glove on, but he didn't have a chance to throw out Ellsbury at first. He did stop Drew from scoring which was for the moment a big deal.
Darren O'Day replaced Rodriguez for the O's and we all hoped he'd get an inning ending double play. But Ellsbury stole second to take that away. A good throw from Matt Wieters probably would have gotten him, but it wasn't a good throw from Wieters. That set up the RBI single from Dustin Pedroia, a ground ball that just sneaked between Machado and Hardy on the left side. Both runners scored, the second of which might have been out at home if left fielder Nate McLouth had made an accurate throw.
The go ahead run scored in the eighth inning when Tommy Hunter allowed a double to Daniel Nava and then pinch hitter Mike Carp hit a bloop that Machado dove but just couldn't get in shallow left field.
That was all she wrote since Koji Uehara is the Red Sox closer. He got the final three outs easily and now the Orioles will play tomorrow hoping to avoid a sweep.
It's frustrating that the two hits that knocked in the tying and go ahead runs weren't even hit that hard. Just a little bit differently and they both would have been outs. On one hand, it's unlucky, but on the other hand the Orioles need to stop putting themselves into a position where a few unlucky hits ruins them.