Miguel Gonzalez entered today's game having allowed 10 earned runs over his last 3 outings and 14.2 innings pitched. So it seemed imperative for him to put forth a good performance should he aspire to remain in the rotation. Things looked dire for him after the first two innings. He got out of a 1st and 2nd with one out jam in the first, and then allowed a 1 out solo home run to Stephen Drew in the 2nd. After doubling, Jackie Bradley Jr. would come in to score the second run of the inning when Steve Pearce was unable to hold onto a catch at first base. 2-0 Red Sox after 2, and it looked as if MiGo was going to continue his struggling ways.
But he did not, as he would settle down, retiring 8 in a row and 17 of the next 19 batters faced while working into the 8th. Things began to look a bit dicey in the 8th after Gonzalez hit Dustin Pedroia and walked Mike Napoli. A wild pitch that he airmailed to the backstop allowed the runners to advance to 2nd and 3rd with two outs, while also running the count full to the struggling Xander Bogaerts. Cool, calm, and collected, MiGo dotted the bottom of the zone with a fastball to catch Xander looking.
Honestly, that pitch could well have ended up on Yawkey Way, but MiGo was living right and got away with one to end the threat and push a tie game into the 9th.
And the game was tied only because the Red Sox were seemingly incapable of fielding the ball at times. Jon Lester looked like the guy who dominated the O's over his first 14 decisions vs. them, holding them to 5 hits while walking none and striking out 7 over 8 innings. But his defense let him down in the 3rd. Delmon Young led off and reached courtesy of a throwing error by Dustin Pedroia. He was followed by a Caleb Joseph line drive single to LF. Lester induced a strike out of Jonathan Schoop and a Nick Markakis groundout, and it looked as if the O's rally was destined to be another 'Oriole'd' affair. But a sharp grounder off the bat of Steve Pearce bounced off of Xander Bogaerts' glove and into shallow LF, allowing both Young and Joseph to score, knotting the game up at 2.
But that would be all the damage the Orioles offense could muster in this game. If the thumpers of the lineup ain't thumpin, they are going to struggle to put up digits on the scoreboard. Pearce, Jones, Cruz, & Davis combined to go 1 for 16, with the 1 being just a single. That's a recipe for an O's loss.
Which is what it turned out to be in the 9th inning. T.J. McFarland came on in relief of Gonzalez with Stephen Drew, David Ross, and Jackie Bradley Jr. due up. Boston skipper John Farrell immediately pinch hit for Drew with the righty Johnny Gomes, who bounced a grounder into the deep SS hole. JJ Hardy made a remarkable effort to range over and snag the ball just beyond the infield dirt, and nearly threw out Gomes at first in spite of not being able to get a strong throw off. But Gomes was safe; the lead off man had reached. A sacrifice by Ross put Gomes in scoring position, and Farrell decided to pinch hit for the lefty Bradley with right handed utility player, Jonathan Herrera. Herrera was badly jammed by a 1-0 fastball, but he fought the ball off enough to deposit it into shallow right-center field. Adam Jones' throw was off the mark, and Gomes scored. Two hits traveled a combined 200 or so feet and it proved to be enough for a victory for the home team. Ballgame over. See you again at 7.