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Orioles have a laugher at Fenway, defeat Red Sox 11-2

The Orioles got a ton of hits, a ton of walks, robbed a homer, and the pitching was good too. What’s not to like?

Adley Rutschman and Jorge Lopez embrace on the field after the Orioles win
A familiar sight.
Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Orioles shipped up to Boston this weekend and kicked off the series by reminding everyone who the top dog in the AL East is these days. A great starting pitching performance, a well-rounded offense that picked up 14 hits and nine walks, and some outstanding defense thrown in for good measure.

In the end, the Orioles had an 11-2 win, their 89th of the season and sixth in a row. They maintained their four-game lead over the Rays, who also won. They extended their no-sweeps streak to 85 consecutive series and they are on pace for 103 wins. What is even happening right now?

Kyle Bradish has come a long way in his nearly two years in the majors. He’s improved to the point that he is now the ace of the best team in the American League. His 3.03 ERA coming into tonight’s game is third-best among American League starters. But so far in his young career, he has struggled against the Red Sox.

When he faced them back in April of this year he had the worst start of his career when he gave up seven runs in just 1.2 innings, the third time he surrendered at least six runs against the Red Sox since last year.

Tonight? He may have slayed that dragon. He was simply outstanding for five innings and ultimately pitched six with just two runs allowed. He struck out nine batters and was fooling Red Sox batters all over.

Through five innings, just one batter reached. Bradish retired the first eight before Connor Wong singled back up the middle. No matter, Bradish got an Alex Verdugo groundout for the third out in the third, then put up 1-2-3 fourth and fifth innings.

For most of the night, Red Sox pitcher Tanner Houck matched Bradish nearly pitch for pitch. It was frustrating to watch because, unlike Bradish, Houck has not been very good this year. He came into the game with an ERA just north of five and he hasn’t been a full-time member of the Red Sox rotation.

The Orioles’ batters were frustratingly impatient against Houck tonight. Lots of at-bats that ended after just one, two, or three pitches. They had some baserunners but didn’t push across a run until the fourth. Ryan O’Hearn launched a home run to right field. It was a no-doubter. I really enjoy O’Hearn. Players that come out of nowhere are always fun.

The way the Orioles were mostly rolling over for Houck, it seemed like that one run might be the only one they’d get. He got through five innings with just 59 pitches and looked like he would cruise through another. I said aloud in my living room, “I can’t believe they let this guy get into the sixth inning! He doesn’t pitch into the sixth inning!”

Before the game, I was looking at Houck’s game log and noticed that he didn’t often give up a ton of runs. It seemed strange to me given his 5.07 ERA, but then I noticed his innings pitched. In 11 out of his 16 starts this year, he didn’t pitch past the fifth inning. Friends, we found out why.

Santander worked a walk against him, and then O’Hearn ambushed him with a quick single to left field. Ryan Mountcastle struck out, but Cedric Mullins got the big blow. A double to right field knocked in both runners and Mullins ended up on third when the outfielder bobbled the ball. He wasn’t there long; Austin Hays poked a single through the drawn-in infield to make the score 4-0.

That was it for Houck, though he was charged with one more run before it was all said and done. Relief pitcher Joe Jacques walked pinch-hitter Jordan Westburg and hit Ramón Urías to load the bases. It could have been a lot worse for the Red Sox; Rutschman hit a sacrifice fly to make the score 5-0.

After the rally, Bradish was back out for the sixth and things got dicey for the first time. With one out, Wong came to the plate again and again reached base. Unfortunately, this time it wasn’t a single. It was a home run over the Green Monster to break up the shutout.

I was hoping Bradish would shut it down so it could just be one of those things where one guy has success and everyone else is bad, but doubles from Verdugo and Justin Turner led to another run before Bradish got the final out of the inning.

It didn’t end as beautifully as it started, but it was a great outing all the same. His final line: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 9 K. His rough sixth inning didn’t allow him to return for the seventh but thankfully the offense wasn’t close to finished and the bullpen was ready to keep it going.

In the eighth inning, Rutschman added on an insurance run with his 18th home run of the year. It looked like it might go foul but ended up landing just inside the JJ Hardy Pole. He did get a little more distance on it than JJ did, though.

And the Orioles weren’t done. Henderson launched a ball to center field, and as soon as it took a bad hop off the wall it was off to the races. He landed on third for his seventh triple of the year. Seventh! He came to score the seventh run of the game.

Four more runs in the ninth off of the fourth Red Sox relief pitcher of the game truly turned things into a laugher. Rutschman picked up his third RBI on a fielder’s choice and Henderson knocked in one with his third hit of the game. And Aaron Hicks, who didn’t even start this game, added a two-RBI single to put the cherry on top of the 11-2 win.

Jacob Webb, DL Hall, and Jorge López finished off the game with one inning apiece. Hall got a little help from Ryan McKenna, who had come into the game as a pinch runner in the top of the inning. We all remember what happened to McKenna in the opening series this year, right in Boston. Was this his redemption catch? You be the judge:


Who was the Most Birdland Player for September 8th?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    Adley Rutschman (2-for-4, BB, HR, 3 RBI)
    (78 votes)
  • 19%
    Gunnar Henderson (3-for-6, sweet defense)
    (171 votes)
  • 12%
    Ryan O’Hearn (2-for-4, HR)
    (104 votes)
  • 59%
    Kyle Bradish (6 IP, 2 ER, 1 BB, 9 K)
    (512 votes)
865 votes total Vote Now