Rain would prove to be a common opponent on this night in Baltimore. With the way the game began, you have to wonder why the Orioles even tried to start on time. They didn’t even make it through the first without a delay.
Mookie Betts led off the game for the Red Sox and after one pitch, he was retired on a fly ball to Adam Jones in deep center field. Andrew Benintendi grounded out to O’s starter Kevin Gausman on the fourth pitch of his at-bat and there were two quick outs. After that, J.D. Martinez fell behind in the count, 0-2, and then the rain came. Manager Buck Showalter looked none too happy in the dugout as the grounds crew unrolled the tarp.
The game resumed after a 41 minute delay, Gausman threw two pitches and Martinez grounded out to Tim Beckham at short. Three up, three down. Longest first half inning ever.
First baseman and left-handed hitter Mitch Moreland belted a solo home run to lead off the second inning. 1-0, Red Sox. It was a 2-0 fastball that he launched into the seats in center field. Coming into the game, right-handed hitters were hitting .298 against the right-handed Gausman and left-handers were hitting .259.
The Orioles got one hitter on base in each of the first three innings, but they were unable to push any runs across. Beckham singled to lead off the game, but was caught wandering off first to end the inning. Trey Mancini doubled with one out in the second but was stranded on second. Jace Peterson walked with one out in the third before the rain returned with two outs in the inning, leading to delay number two. At least this one was shorter though, lasting only 19 minutes.
When play resumed in the third, Jonathan Schoop doubled to left center and Peterson was thrown out at home plate by a mile. He did not even bother to slide before being tagged out by Red Sox catcher Sandy Leon. Gausman came back out for the top of the fourth, needing only eight pitches to get through the inning and leaving his pitch count at 49.
Adam Jones led off the fourth with a single to the opposite field and advanced to second on a soft ground ball out by Mark Trumbo. Porcello then committed a balk, moving Jones to third and drawing Red Sox manager Joey Cora from the dugout for a brief chat with the umpires.
Chris Davis had a prime RBI opportunity with the infield shifted and drawn in. He worked the count full before a swinging strikeout on a 90 mph fastball. Mancini then struck out on an 82 mph slider.
Boston played their own version of small ball the next inning, except they were able to score. Xander Bogaerts had a perfectly placed bloop double down the line in right and moved to third on a ground ball to Schoop. An eight pitch at-bat to Rafael Devers culminated in a walk and Leon followed with a walk to load the bases. A third consecutive walk, to Jackie Bradley Jr. this time, drove in the Sox second run of the game. 2-0, Boston.
Then Mookie Betts came to the plate — the last guy you wanted to see with the bases loaded. But Gausman was able to bounce back from the walks and struck out Betts on four pitches. Unfortunately, the O’s were unable to escape the jam without further damage. Benintendi stroked a ground rule double into the left field stands on one hop, driving in two runs and sending Gausman to the bench. 4-0, Red Sox.
Miguel Castro entered the game and promptly gave up an infield single to Martinez, scoring another run and increasing Boston’s lead to 5-0. After a steal and a ground ball, the inning mercifully ended. Gausman was charged with all five runs on the night, raising his ERA to 4.54.
The right-hander’s final pitching line looked like this: 4.2 innings, three hits, five earned runs, three walks, two strikeouts and one home run on 79 pitches (44 strikes).
On the other side, Porcello scattered six hits over six innings for the Red Sox, holding the Orioles scoreless over that time span. He threw 90 pitches (55 strikes), including one walk and six strikeouts. Ryan Brasier would throw a scoreless seventh inning in relief.
Castro pitched a total of three scoreless innings in relief for the O’s, leaving with two outs and a runner on first in the eighth. Jhan Marinez came on and got the final out of the inning.
Brandon Workman allowed the Orioles to inch closer in the eighth when he gave up a two-run home run to Schoop that just snuck over the wall in left after an infield single by Beckham. 5-2, Red Sox. It was Schoop’s 13th home run of the year and oddly enough, the previous 12 were all solo shots.
Marinez stayed on to pitch the top of the ninth and allowed the Red Sox to load the bases with one out. But the O’s escaped the jam when Adam Jones caught a line drive to center field off the bat of Betts and doubled Devers off second base.
Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel came into the game in the ninth to try and shut the door on the O’s. Mancini lined out sharply to Betts in right and Renato Nunez followed with a double to the gap in left center. Joseph drove Nunez home with a single to left center, and it was 5-3, Red Sox. As the rain picked up, the game ended on a 3-6 ground ball double play off the bat of Peterson.
Baltimore has now lost four games in a row since returning from the All-Star break. The Birds will hope for better luck and better weather in game two tomorrow night. Orioles’ right-hander Yefry Ramirez (0-3, 3.09 ERA) will face Red Sox left-hander Drew Pomeranz (1-3, 6.81 ERA).