O’s fall to five behind in AL East
Kevin Gausman was past the 100-pitch mark and he had not been nearly as overpowering as he was against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park six days earlier.
David Ortiz, in the final two regular-season weeks of his long career, was still David Ortiz.
That’s really all you need to know about the Orioles’ damaging 5-2 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday night at Camden Yards. The Red Sox have it all going on and the Orioles need to refocus on the wild-card race, because they have very little choice now that they’re five games out of first place with 11 games to go.
Ortiz, of course, launched another moonshot in the seventh inning to break up a tight game, and the Red Sox won their sixth straight while the Orioles continued to limp around the ballpark where they used to have the best record in the major leagues.
Since they left Boston after Gausman’s uplifting1-0victory over 20-game winner Rick Porcello, the Orioles have lost four of six and fallen out of a division race in which they were just one gameoff the lead five days ago.
Gausman had held his own before Ortiz’s homer Tuesday, but he was not the same pitcher who stifled the Red Sox at Fenway Park. He pitched with at least one runner on base in each of the seven innings he took the mound. He tried to wriggle off the hook after giving up no-out singles to Marco Hernandez and Mookie Betts, but after striking out Xander Bogaerts he could not put a dent in Ortiz’s retirement tour.
He jumped ahead 1-2 on the count before Big Papi hammered a towering drive over the centerfield fence to cheer the usual heavy Red Sox presence among the announced 20,387 and deliver a gut punch to the Orioles faithful who felt things were turning The Orioles’ Trey Mancini, center, celebrates hitting a home run in his first major league game. It came with two out in the fifth inning. around after Trey Mancini homered in his major league debut.
Curiously, manager Buck Showalter did not have spot lefthander Donnie Hart warming in the bullpen for that situation. Showalter does not like to use his short relievers when the club is behind, but this was — by most accounts — a must-win situation if the Orioles were to have any chance at the division title.
It didn’t look as if it was going to matter through the early innings. Former Orioles prospect Eduardo Rodriguez carried a no-hit bid into the fifth inning before Mancini finally brought the crowd to life with his two-out shot into the visitors’ bullpen. Missed it by that much: The Orioles got a run back after Ortiz’s home run after Jonathan Schoop led off the bottom of the seventh with a double into the left-field corner and scored on an infield hit by J.J. Hardy. Hyun Soo Kim followed with a pinch-hit single to bring Adam Jones to the plate representing the tying run. Jones lined a pitch by Brad Ziegler to the deepest part of the ballpark before center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. caught it. Mancini’s wake-up call: Mancini’s second major league at-bat will never be far from his heart — or his mother’s. When he broke up Rodriguez’s no-hit bid in the fifth inning with his first major league home run, the MASN cameras found her in the stands looking absolutely stunned. The game also was broadcast on the MLB Network, meaning all his friends back in Winter Haven, Fla., could see it. Mookie’s good fortune: Betts doesn’t need any help. He’s one of the most productive hitters in baseball and will be a strong candidate for American League Most Valuable Player award, but sometimes you make your own breaks. In his case Tuesday, he had bloop singles in each of his first two at-bats and parlayed the second one into the first Red Sox run.
Starters: Red Sox’s Clay Buchholz (7-10, 5.20) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (7-11, 5.94) Jimenez has a 3.28 ERA and 0.81 WHIP over his past five starts with a 1.5 strikeout-towalk rate.