The Orioles lost again tonight, their fifth straight game. If you’re keeping track, that’s a seven-game losing streak and a five-game losing streak sandwiched around a two-game sweep of the Mets. That’s not good.
This game featured dueling pitchers, and thanks to that the game really came down to one inning: the 12th. Mychal Givens came out to try and hold the lead. He did not. An opposite field single by Xander Bogaerts and a double by Rafael Devers put runners on second and third with no outs. When the ball came off of Devers’s bat it looked like Bogaerts would be able to score easily, but he must have gotten a bad read because he was held up by the third base coach.
It didn’t matter though. After Givens put a ball into Eduardo Nunez’s ribs to load the bases, Brock Holt hit a sacrifice fly to give the Red Sox the 1-0 lead. Adam Jones made the catch and threw all the way home to try and catch Bogaerts. The throw wasn’t even close and as a result Devers was able to move up to third base and also come in on a sac fly. Just a poor play by Jones there. Of course, it didn’t matter because the Orioles are incapable of scoring runs.
With a two-run lead heading to the bottom of the 12th, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel came into the game. Craig Gentry worked a walk, but Kimbrel struck out the next three batters to end the game.
That inning decided the game, but there were 11 before that. So let’s back it up to the beginning.
Dylan Bundy started this game for the Orioles, although by the time if was over his performance was just a fuzzy memory. It was a very good start for him as he shut down the Red Sox offense for eight innings. Unfortunately for him, his own offense was stinking it up as badly as the Red Sox.
Bundy walked two batters in the game and allowed three hits, all singles. Just once did a batter reach second base against him. After walking in the sixth inning, Andrew Benintendi stole second base before J.D. Martinez struck out to end the inning. Of the 24 outs he recorded, seven were strikeouts. Five of those were swinging. It was just an all around great night for Bundy, so at least those of us watching had that going for us.
Red Sox starter Steven Wright came into this game 1.57 ERA and after 6.2 shutout innings tonight that number is down to 1.21. The knuckleballer had the O’s hitters flummoxed all night, although to be fair most pitchers do that.
That’s not to say that the Orioles didn’t have their chances, because they did. They had runners on in all but two of Wright’s innings, including in the third when Adam Jones reached second base with one out and was stranded. Jones also took a lead off walk in the sixth inning but couldn’t get moved up.
Wright was pulled with two outs in the seventh after Chance Sisco was hit by a pitch, Jace Peterson singled, and Joey Rickard walked. Joe Kelly replaced him and the fireballer struck out Jones to end the inning. It was an up and down night for Jones at the plate. He reached base three times against Wright but couldn’t do anything against the relief corps.
The relief pitcher for both teams were solid and the game moved into extra innings with no score. Richard Bleier looked especially sharp in his inning of work. It wasn’t until the 11th inning that it all went downhill.
Brad Brach was in for his second inning of work and in the 11th and gave up a single and a walk with two outs, so Buck Showalter called on Mychal Givens to get out of the jam. And while technically he did, it was pretty ugly.
Givens first loaded the bases by walking J.D. Martinez, then went 3-0 on Mitch Moreland. The last time Givens appeared was in Toronto when he walked in the winning run, and it seemed like it might be more of the same tonight. But Givens fought back to strike out Moreland get out of the jam.
Despite his troubles in the 11th, Showalter decided to bring him back out for the 12th. And that’s when it all went to hell.