So much for playing spoiler for home-field advantage. The Red Sox simply pummeled Oriole pitching tonight, the latter giving up sixteen hits (including three homers, two doubles, and a triple) and five walks. Scott Feldman, Baltimore's starter, surrendered five runs in the first inning on the following sequence: groundout, single, single, double, home run, walk, popout, triple, groundout.
A five-run deficit in the first is hard enough to overcome, but O's pitching wasn't done giving up runs. Feldman "settled down" in the second, but even the play-by-play data records all three outs as line drives (one soft, but still). In the third, he went back to giving up baserunners, with a pair of singles followed by a double off the padding of the groundskeepers' shed, inches from a second three-run homer. Zach Britton came on in relief after that, and immediately gave up a single up the middle, adding two more runs to Feldman's tally for eight total.
The O's bats made a little noise in the bottom of the third, as Brian Roberts singled with one out, and Adam Jones drove him in with a two-run homer to dead center field. That's Jones's 33rd home run this season, establishing a new career high. Things were pretty quiet for both sides until the sixth inning, when Chris Davis hit a one-out blast into the Oriole bullpen, his 53rd homer of the year.
The score now 8-3, Baltimore's deficit was back to five runs, but any hopes of a late-game comeback didn't last very long. After replacing Zach Britton and turning in a scoreless seventh, Steve Johnson gave up consecutive two-out walks, and Buck Showalter turned to lefty Mike Belfiore to face David Ortiz. Belfiore got behind in the count, 2-1, and Ortiz hit a decent pitch on the outer third into the left-field stands. It must suck to surrender a three-run homer to the first batter you ever face in the big leagues, but it must suck even more to surrender two homers in your debut. Belfiore did just that, giving up a leadoff homer to Johnny Gomes before mercifully getting three more outs.