The petulant whiner and destroyer of dugout phones David Ortiz was ejected from Sunday's game as the Orioles beat the Red Sox, 8-3. This ejection did not materially affect the outcome of the contest. It was, however, hilarious and glorious. On this occasion, he does not appear to have taken out his anger on any dugout phones, though he should be due for both fines and a suspension for throwing his equipment and bumping the umpire. I won't be holding my breath.
In the end, this occurrence was nothing more than a sideshow for an excellent game played by the O's. They jumped all over Red Sox starter Rick Porcello for 12 hits in five innings, with Adam Jones continuing a blistering hot start to the season in the very first inning of the game, blasting a home run that soared over the Green Monster and left the Fenway Park premises to give the O's an early 2-0 lead.
When all was said and done on the day, Jones went 4-5 and had five RBI. He's now batting .457/.490/.848 on the young season.
The Orioles needed that kind of performance from their star player today. It was a laborious kind of day for Orioles starter Miguel Gonzalez, who allowed two of the first three batters of the game to reach before giving up a long home run of his own to Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez. The O's staked him to a lead and he squandered it in the span of four batters. Before the inning was over, Gonzalez walked another two batters, although no further damage was done there.
Porcello was not in much of a mood to hold a lead for long either. The top of the second saw him give up a game-tying home run to Ryan Flaherty, a deep center shot that was all the more impressive because of the way that the wind was chopping down any fly ball to center and right field on the afternoon. This tied the game at 3-3.
Gonzalez rebounded from his bad first inning, when it looked like he might not even make it through two innings. He ended up limping through five innings without giving up any more runs than he did in the first. By the time he left the game, he'd allowed three runs on five hits and four walks. That's not a great day or even a good day, but on some days it's good enough. Today was one of those days.
You might have thought it would be heading in a different direction for a while there. The fourth inning saw the Orioles load the bases on a hit and a pair of walks before having the inning end on a bases-loaded double play. We've seen that story before. A throwing error in the bottom of the fourth gave the Red Sox a runner on second with none out, too, but Gonzalez held the Sox where they were. Shane Victorino didn't even advance to third base before the inning ended.
In the fifth inning, the O's ran the whole bases loaded thing a second time. Jimmy Paredes, who himself was not a slouch with a 3-5 day, led off the inning with a single, followed by a single from Jones. During today's radio broadcast, Joe Angel said of Jones, "If you put bacon on his head, it'll get fried." He does it all: Chris Davis tried his damndest to squash the rally by grounding into what could have been a double play, but Jones went in hard at second and did enough to bust up the play. Davis was safe at first after a late relay.
Delmon Young took a walk and the bases were loaded again with one man down. How would they screw it up this time? Not at all, it turned out. Travis Snider hit an infield single that was more of a misplay by the Red Sox infield. It still counts. A run scored. Another came across when Manny Machado hit a sacrifice fly that scored Davis from third base. This was not an especially deep fly ball. The latest Red Sox legend-to-be Mookie Betts was unable to even throw the ball to the pitcher's mound on the fly. After this sequence, the O's had a 5-3 lead.
Jones, who said on MASN in a post-game interview that he'd been hearing from Red Sox fans that his mom was in Boston and he wished he'd known so they could have gone out to dinner, was not done being an agent of destruction. The very next inning, the O's loaded the bases with nobody out. Jones stepped up and walloped a ball off the center field fringe of the Green Monster, a bases-clearing double that Betts almost managed to play into a triple or even an inside-the-park home run.
Many things in life are easier when you have eight runs of support. Having thus blasted Porcello, Boston's $82 million man, the O's turned to their bullpen, who had their first game without allowing a run on Saturday afternoon. Tommy Hunter sent them down in order for two innings, then gave way to Kevin Gausman, who looked to be getting some kind of live game tune-up in the eighth and ninth inning. Gausman gave up only one hit in two innings of work. A few balls were hit hard but mostly right at fielders.
With the win, the O's have pulled themselves into a share of first place with Boston. Only 1.5 games separates the top of the division from the bottom at this time. They've guaranteed at least a split of the four game series with a chance to win it outright in Monday's inhumane 11:05am contest. Wei-Yin Chen and Justin Masterson are the scheduled starters.