The Orioles lost tonight thanks to one inning of bad play. The other eight innings were fine, though their offense didn't do much to help by only scoring one run. They did get the first run in before the bottom of the sixth where the Red Sox scored five. I always wonder how that affects the guys who have to come back into bat after innings like that - does it get in your head? Also, can we get Adam Jones back now? David Lough has been fine in CF, but that power back in the lineup wouldn't be a bad thing.
The first five innings of this game were more or less a pitcher's duel. Both Norris and Buchholz looked pretty good, limited baserunners, kept their pitch count down, and there were no runs scored. A couple notes though:
- Manny Machado was caught trying steal 2nd in the first inning. This likely didn't matter though because the grounder Paredes was out on looked like it would've been a double play ball.
- The Orioles worked Buchholz to more than 35 pitches in the first two innings, but they couldn't keep it up and he got back to a good number by the 4th.
- In the bottom of the 5th, Xander Bogaerts hit a hard ball up the middle right as Hanley Ramirez was trying to steal second base. The ball hit Ramirez in the hand, which took him out of the game. Manny Machado played the ball and tried to turn a double play, but he missed tagging 2nd, though he did get the ball into first before Bogaerts got there. According to the rule though for that type of interference, Ramirez was called out and Bogaerts was credited with a base hit.
The sixth inning was basically the entire game. The Orioles got the first run in after Chris Parmelee hit a leadoff double and Chris Davis drove him with a long single to center field that just dropped right in front of Mookie Betts. But the Orioles couldn't do anymore.
The bottom of the sixth was a mess all around. De Aza hit a ball right to Davis, who bobbled the ball but still had a chance at getting the out when he tossed it to Bud Norris. Norris though stepped on De Aza's hand, who for some reason was sliding headfirst into the base, and couldn't get the out. That's one error. Sandy Leon came up next. First, Norris threw a passed ball that allowed De Aza to get to 2nd. Then Leon bunted, and while Norris again had a chance to get the ball and make the out at first, he fielded it in a strange way and didn't even try to make the throw. That's two errors. So now there's runners on first and third with no outs. Mookie Betts would single to drive in De Aza and make it a 1-1 game. After Brock Holt grounded out, Pedroia would hit a single and drive in two more runs. Pedroia though pulled up after rounding first with looked like some kind of hamstring injury. He too would leave the game. Finally, David Ortiz would hit a home run that drove in two more runs to make it 5-1. It was a deep shot to center field...guess his power isn't gone yet. After getting another out, Norris would leave the game to let Brian Matusz come in to finish up.
Technically all five runs were unearned to Bud Norris, though he was involved in the two plays that should have been outs. If they had been, there would have been no runs in the inning. Palmer and Thorne kept saying that bunt by Leon was credited as a hit and not an error to Norris, expect the box score I was looking at said the opposite. Either way, Norris had been pitching well up until that point and you have to wonder how much further he could have gone if not for those errors.
The rest of the game had almost no action. Ryan Flaherty had a double as he continues to be awesome. Jonathan Schoop has been playing everyday in the minors...not sure if there's a point he would have to come back up, but I don't see any need to rush it. Flaherty can stay in there a while. Besides, bringing him back would likely mean one of the outfielders will have to be DFA'd. I'd say Jimmy Paredes has been hitting well enough again lately to stay. Tough call.
Despite the loss, the Orioles can still win the series with a win tomorrow, and had still beat the Red Sox six times in a row before tonight. Also, it's not like losing a game in the standings to the Red Sox really matters much right now. Will Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirex come back? Miguel Gonzalez is definitely coming back, so for those you who can catch an early afternoon game on a Thursday - should be interesting.