Three straight for Sox

A throw­ing mis­take by Davis helps Bos­ton come back to beat O's, 5-1

Baltimore Sun - - FRONT PAGE - By Ed­uardo A. Encina

The two back­handed plays that first base­man Chris Davis made rang­ing to his right Wed­nes­day night weren’t that much dif­fer­ent, but they had very dif­fer­ent re­sults in the Ori­oles’ 5-1 loss to the Bos­ton Red Sox.

The first was a run-sav­ing play, one of two times the Ori­oles kept Bos­ton from scor­ing with the bases loaded for starter Ubaldo Jimenez. Davis’ slick stop started an in­ning-end­ing 3-6-1 dou­ble play in the fourth in­ning of a one-run game.

The other play sent the Ori­oles into a sixth-in­ning tum­ble that con­tin­ued their slide down the Amer­i­can League East stand­ings.

Re­liever Brad Brach was one strike away from leav­ing the Red Sox with the bases loaded again and keep­ing a shutout bid in­tact when catcher Sandy Leon hit a grounder to the right side that Davis back­handed — though sec­ond base­man Jonathan Schoop was be­hind him ready to make the play — and made an er­rant throw across his body past Brach, who was cov­er­ing first base.

Davis’ throw­ing er­ror let in two un­earned runs.

And when rookie An­drew Ben­in­tendi sent Brach’s next pitch over the right-field score­board for a three-run homer, a one-run lead had turned into a four-run deficit in a span of two pitches.

“Your first thought there, much like the ball that he turned the big dou­ble play on for us,” Ori­oles man­ager Buck Showal­ter said of Davis’ mis­cue. “I know that he’s played a Gold Glove first base all year, and

your first thought there is don’t let the ball through the in­field. We usu­ally ex­e­cute the back end of that. We feel con­fi­dent in him mak­ing that play, or Jonathan mak­ing it. We didn’t ex­e­cute the very end of that, but as far as who shoulda, woulda, coulda, I’m real proud of the dou­ble play he turned and him hav­ing the guts to go get it be­cause he doesn’t want that ball to go through.”

As the Ori­oles make their fi­nal push for the play­offs, it’s be­com­ing ob­vi­ous that they’re press­ing. It’s ev­i­dent in plays like Davis’ in the sixth and in an Ori­oles of­fense that has scored just 10 runs over the past five games.

“Ob­vi­ously just didn’t make a very good throw on it,” Davis said of the play. “In that sit­u­a­tion right there, I know how im­por­tant it is to get the fi­nal out with the bases loaded right there. Prob­a­bly a ball I could’ve stayed back on and just gone to the bag, but I just re­acted and when I went to throw it, it just kinda stuck in my hand.”

The tim­ing has been aw­ful. The Ori­oles en­tered this week con­trol­ling their own fate — some­thing few teams can say in late Septem­ber — with the op­por­tu­nity to take the di­vi­sion from the front-run­ning Red Sox (88-64) with four head-to-head games.

In­stead, they’ve stum­bled to three straight losses and fallen six games be­hind Bos­ton with 10 games left to play in the reg­u­lar sea­son. They’ve played well at home, but af­ter Wed­nes­day’s de­feat, they’ve lost seven of nine to the Red Sox this sea­son at Cam­den Yards. The Ori­oles go into the clubs’ fi­nal reg­u­lar-sea­son meet­ing tonight hop­ing to avoid a sweep and to hang on to any sliver of hope to re­main in the di­vi­sion race.

“What they’ve done doesn’t get wiped out but we also know what it means,” Showal­ter said. “We lost ‘X’ num­ber of games in April. No­body’s even bring­ing that up. I know since the fi­nal­ity plays into it. It doesn’t help any­body to be re­minded of that. You all can re­mind me of the ob­vi­ous all the time. That’s OK. It’s what you should do. It doesn’t help them to do so. We talked some to­day and they talk among them­selves all the time. It’s a very ‘Look-in-themir­ror’ team.”

Showal­ter and Davis made men­tion of a team meet­ing be­fore Wed­nes­day’s game to re­mind one an­other what’s at stake. The Ori­oles are cling­ing to the sec­ond AL wild card by one game over the Hous­ton Astros and the Detroit Tigers. “No, it’s def­i­nitely not the po­si­tion we want to be in,” Davis said. “Felt like we were play­ing some good base­ball com­ing off the road trip. Went to three tough places and won each series. That’s what you want com­ing down the stretch and just haven’t been able to get the runs when we need them.”

The Ori­oles’ only run came in the third in­ning on Adam Jones’ sac­ri­fice fly with the bases loaded and no outs. But the threat ended with Manny Machado pop­ping out on the first pitch he saw with two run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion. Two in­nings later, Machado ended an in­ning by pop­ping out on a 3-0 pitch.

Showal­ter has tin­kered with his bat­ting or­der in re­cent days, at­tempt­ing to sep­a­rate his power bats with his on-base hit­ters, but the Ori­oles have scored just nine runs over the past five games.

Jimenez, who was charged with two un­earned runs over 51⁄ in­nings, es­caped a bases-loaded jam dur­ing a 28-pitch first in­ning.

“He did a great job,” Davis said of Jimenez. “I think that’s what prob­a­bly makes him it tough, los­ing a game like this. That guy’s been bat­tling pretty much the en­tire sea­son and to see him go out there in a big game and throw the ball like he did, as a de­fender, as a hit­ter, you want to try to get him the win.”

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Ori­oles third base­man Manny Machado goes over the Red Sox dugout rail­ing af­ter catch­ing a foul pop by Jackie Bradley Jr. in the eighth in­ning as Bos­ton’s Deven Mar­rero tries to keep him from tum­bling. The Red Sox scored five runs in the fifth to erase a 1-0 Ori­oles lead.

KEN­NETH K. LAM/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

A throw­ing er­ror by Ori­oles first base­man Chris Davis led to two Red Sox runs in the sixth.

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