The ball was carrying tonight at Camden Yards. And it wasn’t just the Orioles’ opponent who hit all the taters — the Birds got in on the action themselves this time. But the Red Sox’s three homers trumped the Orioles’ two, and Baltimore came out on the wrong side of an 8-5 final score.
It didn’t take long for the Red Sox to take a two-run lead. J.D. Martinez, the third batter of the game, launched a two-run home run to the Orioles’ bullpen in center field right after David Hess walked Mookie Betts.
But it became a brand new ballgame in the bottom of the first when Rio Ruiz hit a two-run jack to the first row of seats above the groundskeepers dugout in right. The shot was preceded by a two-out single by Dwight Smith Jr.
The Red Sox’s starter Hector Velazquez lasted three innings, allowing two runs on one walk and three hits, including a home run. Reliever Marcus Walden took over in the fourth.
Despite several walks, Hess had only allowed one hit through three innings. That changed in a hurry in the fourth, when Xander Bogaerts led off the inning with a home run to deep center that gave the lead back to Boston.
Rafael Devers followed with a single. Then Branden Kline could be seen warming in the O’s bullpen once Hess walked his fourth batter of the night, putting runners at second and first with no outs in the fourth. A sacrifice bunt by Jackie Bradley Jr. moved both runners up, but Hess got two consecutive outs to end the inning and his night.
He threw 92 pitches over four innings, including 53 strikes. Hess allowed three hits, four walks and three runs, including two home runs, while striking out five. His ERA on the year is now 5.50.
With two outs in the bottom of the fourth, Hanser Alberto cracked a solo homer to the O’s bullpen off of Walden. It was Alberto’s second home run of the year. And once again a long ball made it a brand new ballgame.
Kline came on in relief to start the fifth and the tie game turned into a deficit for the O’s. After a single to Betts and a walk to Martinez, Mitch Moreland blasted a three-run shot to left center. It was the fifth home run between the two teams.
Gabriel Ynoa came in to pitch after Kline and proceeded to throw three scoreless innings, lowering his ERA to 0.79 on the year. He was aided by a strike ‘em out throw ‘em out double play in the top of the seventh.
With Ryan Brasier working the eighth for the Sox, Baltimore picked up a couple of runs. Smith Jr. drove Trey Mancini home from first on a double that bounced off the first base bag on its way down the right field foul line. Ruiz followed with a ground out, bringing Chris Davis to the plate with two outs. He slapped a single to the gap in left center to drive in Smith Jr. and bring the O’s within one.
Boston swapped out Brasier for Matt Barnes, and the Orioles had the tying run at first in Davis and the go-ahead run at the plate in Wilkerson with two outs in the eighth. But the O’s center fielder struck out after working the count full.
Until the bottom of the eighth, every run in the game had been scored via home run.
Boston was able to get a couple runs back in the ninth. Evan Phillips loaded the bases on a walk, a single and a hit batter before walking in a run. He was removed by manager Brandon Hyde in favor of Miguel Castro before recording a single out.
The Red Sox got their seventh run off of a sac fly by Martinez. Phillips was responsible for all of the base runners in the inning, so the two runs were charged to him accordingly.
Unlike the past two games, the Orioles’ starting pitcher could not go deep into the game. Orioles pitchers combined to walk eight batters on the night. On the other hand, the Birds only had two walks. The best offenses in the game know how to work pitchers and earn their way on base, and that was evident tonight as the Red Sox out-slugged the O’s.
With Baltimore winning Monday and Boston winning tonight, it’ll come down to the finale tomorrow to see who wins this series.