With a depleted lineup, Orioles fall to Red Sox on David Ortiz's 10th-inning homer, 5-3

September 20, 2014|By Eduardo A. Encina | The Baltimore Sun

The starting lineup the Orioles fielded Friday night against the Boston Red Sox was one more likely to be seen in March than September. But with the American League East already wrapped up, Orioles manager Buck Showalter has said the club will choose its spots to rest key starters.

The club's batting order Friday included just two players, right fielder Steve Pearce and shortstop Ryan Flaherty, who were with the club last August. It was missing six starters from the its Opening Day lineup. Center fielder Adam Jones, right fielder Nick Markakis and shortstop J.J. Hardy watched from the bench — their second straight day away, after Thursday's day off.

Even though the Orioles have shined in extra innings this season, the last-place Red Sox were game, handing the Orioles a 5-3 loss on David Ortiz’s two-run homer in the 10th inning, his second home run of the night.

Right-hander Darren O’Day (5-2) allowed Ortiz’s game-winning blast — which cleared the out-of-town scoreboard in right field — the second homer he’s allowed in his past two outings and third in eight September appearances. He yielded just three in his first 57 appearances.

"Ortiz is a pretty good hitter,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “I don't think a whole lot about that. I know it's a break from the level [O’Day had] spoiled us at, but I hope that's our biggest issue going forward. Darren's fine.”

Ortiz’s homer came immediately after a one-out throwing error by third baseman Kelly Johnson, who entered the game as a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth, on a routine grounder by Xander Bogaerts.

The Orioles (92-61) fell to 14-6 in extra-inning situations. Friday’s loss was just the Orioles' second overall in their past 12 games. They’ve still won 10 of 17 games against Boston (67-87) this season.

The announced 39,079 at Camden Yards on Friday night gave the Orioles a season-long attendance total of 2.38 million, their most since drawing 2.63 million in 2005.

The Orioles trailed the Red Sox 3-1 heading into the bottom of the seventh, kept in the game by fielding miscues by a Boston club full of young players auditioning for next season.

“There's a fine line where they were last year and where they are this year,” Showalter said of a Boston club that won the World Series last year and is now in last place in the division. “It just reminds me … people think it's a huge difference when they look at game separation, but it's really not that big a difference.”

The Orioles mounted a two-out rally to tie the game, ignited by left fielder Alejandro De Aza, who had three hits on the night.

Facing left-handed reliever Craig Breslow, De Aza hit his second double of the night off the right-field scoreboard. Pinch hitter Delmon Young followed with an RBI triple to right-center field to cut the lead to one.

Pearce then hit a grounder to shortstop that seemed likely to end the inning, but Bogaerts’ throw to first was high and wide. Pearce avoided first baseman Allen Craig’s tag up the line, allowing Young to score the tying run on the throwing error.

Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman, coming off three consecutive seven-inning outings for the first time in his big league career, left Tuesday’s game after just five innings with a blister under his nail on his right middle finger.

“I get a blister just about every start, but this one happened to be under my nail,” said Gausman, who allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits in five innings. “I guess they didn’t really feel comfortable with me continuing to pitch on it. I understand that. I didn’t feel like it had any effect on my stuff.”

Gausman allowed back-to-back homers to David Ortiz and Yoenis Cespedes to open the fourth inning, seeing a 1-0 lead disappear within three pitches. Ortiz took a waist-high 1-0 pitch and sent it into the first row of the right-center-field seats, just past the grounds crew shed, to tie the game.

Ortiz’s 33rd homer of the season gave him his eighth 30-homer, 100-RBI season with the Red Sox, breaking the club record held by Hall of Famer Ted Williams.

Ortiz "comes up big twice for us again tonight, no bigger than in that 10th inning,” Boston manager John Farrell said. “I hate to think where we'd be without him."

Cespedes crushed a 1-1 pitch over the fence in straightaway center for his fifth homer of the season to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead. Ortiz put Boston up 3-1 on a long, two-out single off the right-field scoreboard, scoring Mookie Betts from first when catcher Caleb Joseph couldn’t come up with first baseman Christian Walker's relay throw home.

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