Three straight for Sox
A throwing mistake by Davis helps Boston come back to beat O's, 5-1
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.”
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.
A throwing error by Orioles first baseman Chris Davis led to two Red Sox runs in the sixth.