The Orioles came into Friday night’s game against the Red Sox trailing the division leaders by 11 games. The reason for that is fairly simple: The Red Sox have played well this season and the Orioles haven’t. The roles reversed on Friday night, though, with the Orioles administering a butt-kicking to a sluggish-looking Boston team, 16-3.
This was the kind of shellacking that the Orioles needed to do to somebody just to remind themselves that they can. So much the better that they were able to do it against the Red Sox. It’s just one win. They probably need at least 21 more the rest of the way.
With the Twins winning their Friday night contest against the Indians, the Orioles didn’t even gain any ground for the second wild card spot. Despite all the runs they scored tonight, they will end it where they started, three games out. Well, there’s always tomorrow. No need to worry about that tonight.
For tonight, we can enjoy the stomping that the Orioles put on the Red Sox. And what a beatdown it was! The defending AL Cy Young winner, Rick Porcello, couldn’t get many people out, though he surely wasn’t helped by a defense that committed five errors behind him.
Porcello couldn’t even finish the fifth inning and the O’s torched him for a total of eleven runs. Fortunately for Porcello’s ERA, if not the Red Sox’s chances of winning, “only” four of the runs ended up being earned. A seven run Orioles fifth was what really sealed the deal, although it was hardly the only inning that was fun to watch as an Orioles fan.
The Orioles did not wait to get the party started. First inning singles by Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop set up a potential scoring chance almost immediately. Adam Jones followed by lining a ball back up the box. Porcello was able to get a glove on it on the way by and picked it up off the ground with a chance at getting Schoop at second base - but instead, he threw the ball into center field.
Machado scored on the play and Schoop advanced to third base, where he was able to score one batter later when Trey Mancini delivered a deep fly ball to center field.
The next inning, the O’s added to this lead. Mark Trumbo led off with a solo homer off Porcello, his 20th bomb of the season. Two more hits and another couple of Red Sox errors later and the Orioles had a 5-0 lead early on. One throwing error came on a routine ground ball to third base, with the other happening on a stolen base attempt as catcher Sandy Leon threw the ball into center field.
Still, a five run lead early in a game is nothing in Fenway Park, right? You never know what might happen. The Red Sox got a little gift themselves to lead off their half of the second inning, when Mitch Moreland grounded a ball right at Schoop in the shift. Schoop made a poor throw in to first base and Moreland was safe.
Immediately after that, Hellickson served up a home run to Xander Bogaerts, a laser shot that screamed up into the Green Monster seats. A 5-2 lead with no one out in the bottom of the second inning is not safe at all. Hellickson settled down after the error and the homer, though. He retired the next nine Red Sox batters in order.
The next time a Boston batter reached base, the Orioles had blown the game wide open with their big fifth inning. Three O’s hits, one walk, and one Red Sox error turned into three more Orioles runs and chased Porcello from the game.
The Sox turned to reliever Joe Kelly to try to stop the bleeding. Kelly, it turned out, was not an effective tourniquet at all. The first batter he faced, Tim Beckham, drove in two runs with a double, and Kelly surrendered three more singles in a row to bring two more O’s runs across the plate. Kelly was throwing pitches 100+ miles per hour on Friday night and it didn’t help him one bit.
Just for fun, and maybe also to help their run differential out a little bit, the O’s added three more in the seventh inning off of Sox reliever Blaine Boyer. Mancini hit a ball the opposite way that glanced off the tip of the glove of Sox right fielder Mookie Betts. This turned into a triple when the ball bounced away from Betts, scoring both of the runners who had been on base. Chris Davis, who had homered back in the third inning, drove in Mancini with a sacrifice fly.
While all of this was going on, Hellickson was getting the job done against the Boston lineup. They got a third run off of him with a pair of singles and a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning and that was about it. Hellickson ended up clearing seven innings in the game, holding the Red Sox to just four hits and no walks. That’s the good stuff. Two of the three runs charged to him were earned.
In all, the Orioles racked up 20 hits against Boston. The last of these was hit by Davis, the 1,000th hit of his big league career. Davis’s milestone hit came against Moreland, the starting first baseman, pressed into pitching duty to finish off the ninth.
All nine Orioles in the starting lineup picked up hits. Seven out of the nine had multi-hit games, with Mancini and Machado each having three hits and Schoop picking up four. They have finally won consecutive games for the first time since August 6 and 7.
As the saying goes, momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher. It’s Kevin Gausman up for the O’s on Saturday as they try to stretch this winning streak out to three games in a 4:05 contest. Former Orioles farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez is scheduled to start for Boston.
Who was the Most Birdland Player for August 25, 2017?
This poll is closed
Jonathan Schoop (second four-hit game of season)
Trey Mancini (3-5, drove in four runs)
Manny Machado (three hits, two runs scored)
Jeremy Hellickson (seven innings, allowed just four hits)