Remember when you were a kid playing baseball or softball and there was a league rule that you could only score five runs per inning? And sometimes when two bad teams were playing each other it was just inning after inning of both teams scoring their five runs and then changing sides?
The first few innings of tonight's game were pretty much like that. Joe Kelly and Mike Wright took turns giving up runs over and over until both were pulled without completing three full innings.
Combined they gave up 13 runs in a total of five innings (Kelly went 2.1, Wright went 2.2). Even watching the O's hitters destroy Klly didn't make up for the misery of watching Wright.
Most of the Red Sox runs came on dingers, which is supposed to be how the Orioles operate! Wright was infuriating. Twice the Orioles gave him a lead and twice he gave it back immediately.
In the first inning, down 1-0 on Mookie Betts's first dinger of the night, the Orioles came back and scored four runs against Kelly. A bases loaded double by Mark Trumbo, a sac fly from Matt Wieters, and an RBI double from Pedro Alvarez got the job done.
You'd think a three-run lead would hold for at least one inning, right? Wrong! A two-run dinger by Chris Young followed by a second homer from Betts and we were all tied up.
The Orioles took the lead again in the second inning on another sacrifice fly, this one from Manny Machado. But if a three-run lead wasn't safe, surely a one-run lead didn't stand a chance. Sure enough, Wright gave up a game-tying home run to David Ortiz and after a two-out single, Buck Showalter pulled him in favor of Vance Worley.
Worley didn't exactly close the door. He walked two to load the bases and then gave up a two-run single to Ryan Hanigan, one of the few terrible hitters on the team. That put the Orioles down by two, but don't worry! Joe Kelly was still in the game.
Kelly lasted just three more batters. He got an out and then gave up a single to Alvarez, who came in to score on a double from Jonathan Schoop. Kelly was replaced by Tommy Layne, who allowed the inherited runner to score on a single by Ryan Flaherty. Flahrt then scored on a single by Machado and the lead was theirs again!
Somehow, both teams went two innings without any more runs scored, but in the sixth inning the run parade began again. Worley had settled down for a few innings but was victim of some bad defense. Machado fielded a ground ball by Hanigan, slipped, and threw it into the stands. That put the runner on second where he came in to score on a single by Pedroia. Nooo! That made for a tie game, 8-8.
It was starting in the bottom of the sixth inning that the Orioles finally gave us a chance to relax some. After giving up the lead in the top of the inning, they took advantage of Clay Buchholz and some shaky defense in the bottom half. Buchholz walked Davis and Trumbo, then Wieters hit a grounder that went directly through Pedroia's legs! You hate to see that.
Davis scored on the error, then Alvarez singled to load the bases with no outs. I thought this would be where they broke it open! But no. They only scored one more run in the inning, but had taken a two-run lead.
There was even more fun to be had in the bottom of the seventh. Kim singled and with one out both Davis and Trumbo walked again. That set up Matt Wieters to get two RBI on a sweet single to the right-center gap.
Their 13th and final run scored on a single from Schoop and gave the O's a 13-8 lead. It wasn't until this inning that I actually started to belive the Orioles would win this crazy game.
And well, they did win, but the rest of the game was far from stressfree. Brad Brach had replaced Worley in the sixth inning and he pitched a clean seventh before turning things over to Darren O'Day.
Guys? I'm a little worried about O'Day. He has had some troubles lately and they showed again tonight. He first gave up a home run to Young, who hit two in the game. He put two more runners on base via a walk and a single, and when David Ortiz stepped to the plate Showalter went to his closer rather than let O'Day face him. Good call, in my opinion.
Britton walked Ortiz, though, to bring the tying run to the plate. I was scared. But Hanley Ramirez grounded out harmlessly to end the inning, and Britton worked around a two-out double for a relatively easy ninth.
What a game. It was frustrating and stressful when the O's were in the field and exciting when they were at the plate. And it was long, just about four hours. It's all good as long as they win, but certainly not my ideal game to watch.
Tomorrow the Orioles and Red Sox close out their four-game series with the O's looking to win to salvage a split. Ubaldo Jimenez will pitch for the Orioles against Rick Porcello for the Red Sox.