Sox bail out Martinez in big way, 15-3

16 hits off O's Douglass, Towers help ill Boston ace to 4-0 in five-inning start

Demotions may loom for pair

`Humbled' Towers yields record 10 runs in relief

Hargrove defends move

May 02, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

BOSTON - Pedro Martinez was vulnerable last night, and the Orioles knew it.

A head cold had sapped the strength from the three-time Cy Young Award winner. Tony Batista turned on a hanging curveball and hit one over the Green Monster. Mike Bordick pulled another fat pitch down the left-field line for a run-scoring double.

Goliath wobbled, but David was fresh out of stones.

With the chance to win their fourth consecutive series, the Orioles saw two young pitchers self-destruct in a 15-3 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park.

The Red Sox scored five runs in three innings against Orioles starter Sean Douglass (0-1), then feasted on another helping of Josh Towers, who set a club record by giving up 10 runs in relief.

"The whole season so far has humbled me," Towers said. "But this really puts things in perspective."

Towers, who was dropped from the starting rotation two weeks ago, served up three home runs, giving him the American League lead with 11.

A possible demotion to Triple-A Rochester now lingers for Towers and Douglass, who hasn't made it through the fourth inning in either of his two starts. Manager Mike Hargrove said he and his coaching staff would discuss how best to get them both untracked.

"I felt better out there," Douglass said, comparing his start to Friday's no-decision in Kansas City. "I thought it was maybe a seven out of a 10. They put a hurt on you in a hurry."

The Red Sox lead the AL with a .303 average, and they finished with 16 hits.

Martinez (4-0) wasn't on his game, but Manny Ramirez sure was, hitting two home runs and driving in five. Nomar Garciaparra had two hits and three RBIs, extending his hitting streak to 15 games.

Jose Offerman went 4-for-4 and scored four runs, and No. 9 hitter Rey Sanchez added three hits and three runs.

It wound up being the Orioles' most lopsided defeat since their 14-0 loss to the Seattle Mariners on Sept. 16, 2000.

After sweeping Kansas City and defeating Boston on Monday night, the Orioles finished their road trip at 4-2. They fell 6 1/2 games behind the first-place Red Sox, who lead the season series 6-3 and won't face the Orioles again until July 26.

"These things happen," Hargrove said. "You play 162 games, and you're going to have games like this. This is only the second time that's happened to us in the 27 games we've played."

The Orioles took a 13-4 loss at Chicago on April 15, but this one hurt more because it was inside the division, and it happened on a night when a better pitching effort would have meant an elusive victory over Martinez.

Martinez is now 6-1 for his career against the Orioles, but he started feeling headaches while nearly tossing a no-hitter last week at Camden Yards.

"I've been dealing with it the whole week," Martinez said. "Today, I had a hard time getting anything going. I didn't feel all that strong. My arm feels fine, but my body was just weak. I had a hard time getting people out."

The Red Sox were happy to pick him up.

"Pedro didn't have his good stuff, but we were able to give him a big lead," said Brian Daubach, who had two hits. "I've been here three years and I've seen him lose enough 2-1 games."

Ramirez hit a three-run homer off Douglass in the first inning, but the Orioles came right back. Batista hit his seventh homer, Marty Cordova walked and Bordick's double trimmed Boston's lead to 3-2.

The Red Sox scored two in the third, but Batista and Cordova hit back-to-back doubles in the fourth inning, trimming the lead to 5-3.

A crowd of 33,274 bristled, but the Red Sox were just getting started as Towers came on to pitch the fourth.

"I don't want to say it was critical for him or crucial for him to pitch well tonight," Hargrove said, "but given the way Sean pitched, we wanted to see him pitch well. We brought him in trailing 5-3, and we really expected him to hold them close to where we could get to them.

"It just didn't happen."

Towers gave up four runs in his first inning, as Garciaparra hit a two-run, two-out single and Ramirez followed with a 335-foot opposite-field home run down the right-field line.

Boom, boom, it was 9-3.

Towers held the Red Sox to one run over the next three innings, but they struck for five more in the eighth. Things got so bad, that Towers and catcher Brook Fordyce tried heading to the dugout with two outs.

The next batter, Daubach, hit a two-run homer, capping the scoring.

"We were down 10-3 and he was not tired," Hargrove said, explaining his decision to let Towers finish the game. "He felt fine, and it doesn't make sense to go into your 'pen trying to keep a 10-3 game 10-3."

Said Towers: "Obviously there was a point, where my mind wasn't totally into it, when I tried to walk off the field with two outs, but I'm glad he left me out there. It would have been worse if I would have been pulled."

On this night, it was hard to imagine anything worse.

Orioles tonight

Opponent:Kansas City Royals

Site:Camden Yards

Time:7:05

TV/Radio:CSN/WBAL (1090 AM)

Starters: Royals' Paul Byrd (4-1, 3.06) vs. Orioles' Sidney Ponson (1-2, 5.28)

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