In a cru­cial game, Ori­oles suf­fer a crush­ing de­feat

Baltimore Sun - - ORI­OLES - Eencina@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/Ed­dieInTheYard

Given the im­por­tance of this three-game se­ries — the Ori­oles en­tered trail­ing the divi­sion-lead­ing Red Sox by two games — the re­sult was one of the team’s worst losses of the sea­son. The 10-run mar­gin of de­feat marked the Ori­oles’ most lop­sided loss since a 14-4 game Aug. 26 at Yan­kee Sta­dium.

The Ori­oles (78-65) ar­rived at Fen­way Park on Mon­day hav­ing taken two of three games from the De­troit Tigers on the road this past week­end, but any mo­men­tum they brought into their piv­otal divi­sion se­ries with the Red Sox quickly died as Mi­ley strug­gled.

The Ori­oles not only fell three games back of the Red Sox, but also moved out of a tie with the Toronto Blue Jays for the first AL wild-card spot.

As for Mi­ley, he’s strug­gled re­mark­ably, post­ing an 8.41 ERA in eight starts with the Ori­oles. He has just one qual­ity start over that span, and has also failed to get out of the sec­ond in­ning in two of his last five out­ings. Mi­ley was shelled for six runs on six hits over 12⁄ in­nings against Hous­ton on Aug. 19, af­ter his of­fense spot­ted him four homers in the first in­ning.

Asked to as­sess his body of work with the Ori­oles, a frus­trated Mi­ley said, “Ob­vi­ously, I mean, that’s not re­ally a good ques­tion. I mean, ob­vi­ously, haven’t been re­ally good.

“I don’t know,” Mi­ley said when asked what is hold­ing him back. “I mean, if I knew I wouldn’t be in this po­si­tion right now.”

Mi­ley — who pitched for the Red Sox in 2014 but never faced them — al­lowed hits to the first five hit­ters, load­ing the bases on three straight sin­gles to open the game be­fore Ori­oles killer Mookie Betts laced a two-run dou­ble into left field. One bat­ter later, Han­ley Ramirez’s RBI sin­gle plated an­other run, and Betts sped home from third when the Ori­oles slowly got the ball into the in­field.

Trail­ing 5-1, Mi­ley — who was car­ry­ing a fast­ball that av­er­aged 93.9 mph, more than 2 mph faster than any of his pre­vi­ous three starts — was pulled from the game af­ter load­ing the bases with one out in the sec­ond.

“I think [it’s] com­mand,” Showal­ter said. “He’s strug­gling a lit­tle bit with his de­liv­ery, try­ing to find it. It’s a tough time to be search­ing for it. It’s there. He just hasn’t been able to get to it and tonight was an ex­am­ple of that. He’s ca­pa­ble of bet­ter.”

The Ori­oles had just two hits off Bos­ton left-han­der David Price, both of them solo homers.

Chris Davis hit his 37th home run of the sea­son with two outs in the sec­ond in­ning, and Manny Machado tied his ca­reer high with his 35th homer of the sea­son with one out in the fourth.

That was the Ori­oles’ en­tire Right-han­der Vance Wor­ley re­acts af­ter Bos­ton’s Han­ley Ramirez rounds the bases af­ter a fourth-in­ning home run. of­fense.

The Red Sox’s 16-hit at­tack in­cluded three solo homers off Ori­oles re­liev­ers. Ramirez home­red in the fourth and Chris Young in the fifth, both blasts com­ing off right-han­der Vance Wor­ley. And David Or­tiz hit his 33rd homer of the sea­son off right-han­der Oliver Drake in the sixth. Price is right: Price won his seventh straight start, im­prov­ing his record to 16-8 while re­tir­ing 24 of 27 Ori­oles bat­ters. He struck out nine and walked none.

Price, Bos­ton’s big-ticket freeagent sign­ing this off­sea­son af­ter ink­ing a seven-year, $217 mil­lion deal that in­cludes an opt-out af­ter 2018, has posted a 2.16 ERA over his last seven starts.

“A guy like David is pitch­ing as well as any­body in base­ball right now,” Showal­ter said. “That’s why he can com­mand those types of [fi­nan­cial] com­mit­ments that they made to him. Tonight’s a good ex­am­ple of how im­por­tant those guys are. He’s be­come so much of a pitcher and now his stuff is up to par, too, so you give him re­ally four pitches to work with, it’s a tough propo­si­tion.”

Over his last two out­ings against the Ori­oles, Price has al­lowed just three runs over 15 in­nings, post­ing a 1.93 ERA. His ca­reer 2.83 ERA against the Ori­oles ranks sec­ond best among ac­tive ma­jor league pitch­ers with at least 10 starts (for­mer Red Sox left-han­der Jon Lester leads with a 2.78 ERA). Ori­oles lose crit­i­cal re­play re­view: On the third bat­ter of the game, the Red Sox loaded the bases on Or­tiz’s hit into left-cen­ter field, a ball Steve Pearce at­tempted to make a play on, but was ruled to be a be a base hit af­ter it popped out of his glove.

The hit loaded the bases and one bat­ter later, Betts’ two-run dou­ble opened up a five-run first in­ning off Mi­ley.

Showal­ter chal­lenged the call, which was up­held, but both Pearce and Showal­ter con­tended Pearce caught the ball and lost it on the ex­change to his throw­ing hand.

“I know I caught the ball,” Pearce said. “I felt it bounce around at first, but I felt like I had a tight grip around the ball. I tried to get it in too fast and that’s when I lost con­trol of it.”

Showal­ter said Pearce ag­gra­vated his el­bow on a throw from the out­field early in the game. Thank good­ness for ex­panded ros­ters: Mi­ley’s quick exit forced the Ori­oles to use four re­liev­ers — Wor­ley, Drake, left-han­der Brian Duensing and left-han­der Jayson Aquino.

Duensing al­lowed two runs on three hits in the seventh, and Aquino, mak­ing his first ap­pear­ance since join­ing the team when ros­ters ex­panded ear­lier this month, tossed a score­less eighth in­ning. The Red Sox scored in each of the first seven in­nings.

ELISE AMEN­DOLA/AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Red Sox des­ig­nated hit­ter David Or­tiz watches his sixth-in­ning solo homer sail as Ori­oles catcher Matt Wi­eters looks on. With the loss, the Ori­oles fell three games be­hind Bos­ton in the AL East.

MAD­DIE MEYER/GETTY IM­AGES

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