I just got home from tonight's game, my first loss of the year. 7-1 is a pretty impressive record but I'm still bummed to have my streak broken.
Here's a secret: Jon Lester is one of my favorite current players. I just enjoy watching him pitch. He's had a few troubles this year, but don't be fooled: he's very good. For obvious reasons I don't often publicize my enjoyment of him, but when I saw he was the pitcher tonight I had a feeling I'd be seeing my first O's loss of the year. He continued his dominance of the Orioles and now his career record against the team is 8-0. Over 7 innings, Lester gave up 5 hits and 0 walks while striking out 8. He started getting hit hard a bit in the 6th and 7th, when Aubrey Huff, Ty Wigginton, and Melvin Mora each lined out to the outfield. All three balls were hit hard and on the nose, but held up just long enough to be caught. The O's made some additional noise in the 9th inning, getting runners on 1st and 2nd with two outs until Jonathan Papelbon came in and retired Matt Wieters to end the game.
For the O's, Jason Berken didn't have a great night. After giving up a lead off triple to JD Drew (did anyone else wonder why Adam Jones was playing so shallow?) and an RBI single to Dustin Pedroia, he was able to get out of the inning via a double play. He managed to get through the 2nd and 3rd innings without allowing any runs, but he wasn't sharp by any means. The 2nd inning featured two singles, a stolen base, and a HBP, but somehow the Red Sox didn't score. The 3rd inning included two walks, a stolen base, and a balk, and yet zero runs. Berken wouldn't be as lucky in the 4th. He plunked the leadoff batter, Jacoby Ellsbury, who immediately stole second and scored on Jason Varitek's single. Varitek then scored on a home run by JD Drew. That's all Berken would allow thanks to an amazing play by Adam Jones to steal a home run from Kevin Youkilis and end the inning.
With Berken out after 5, Brian Bass took over. He started off looking a bit shaky, allowing a single and a walk, but ultimately pitched 3 innings allowing just one more hit. Chris Ray pitched the 9th and looked pretty good despite a Youkilis double.
The O's will do it all again tomorrow as Rich Hill faces off against John Smoltz. Smoltz has pitched just one game this year, giving up 7 runs in 5 innings to the Washington Nationals. Hill is coming off a horrible game against the Marlins, giving up 6 ER in 4.1 innings. The O's are 0-5 against the Red Sox this year.