O’s fall to five be­hind in AL East

Baltimore Sun - - ORIOLES - By Peter Schmuck peter.schmuck@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/sch­muck­s­top

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.

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

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.

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