The first two games of this series could not have looked any more different on paper yet they both ended in similar fashion. Monday night’s series opener was a slug fest where both the Red Sox and Orioles flexed their offensive muscles and combined to score 18 runs.
The Orioles were able to find success against Doug Fister and take an early 5-0 lead after the third inning. Usually when the O’s put up this many runs it’s because of the long ball, but this time they scored almost all of their runs on quality at bats alone. Everyone in the lineup did a good job of just getting on base allowing three of the five runs to be scored on either a sacrifice fly or a fielder’s choice.
The Red Sox made their comeback and eventually toke the lead in the fifth inning. Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt got it started by picking up a pair of RBI singles that knocked Dylan Bundy out of the game and brought the Red Sox back to within just two runs of the O’s.
Mookie Betts was the biggest difference maker of the inning though. The 24-year-old outfielder doubled to deep left field and brought all three base runners home, putting Boston up 7-6. Betts now has ten games in his four-year career where he has collected at least four RBI’s. Three of those ten have been against the Orioles.
The Orioles got the lead right back in the bottom half of the fifth when Pedro Alvarez launched a solo homer and Tim Beckham followed with a RBI double. However, with an 8-7 lead the Orioles still couldn’t hold on and Donnie Hart ended up surrendering a game tying homer to Xander Bogaerts.
The game would remain tied until the 11th inning. Facing Miguel Castro, the Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs, bringing Andrew Benintendi to the plate. Benintendi was able to sneak a grounder just past the reach of a diving Jonathan Schoop to score the eventual game winning runs.
After the disappointing loss on Monday the Orioles were just looking to improve their pitching and try to force a rubber match. Even though the pitching definitely improved, the result was still a loss as the O’s came up just short.
Kevin Gausman was excellent in his eight innings of work, allowing just three hits and striking out seven. Drew Pomeranz got the start for Boston and gave up five hits through 6.1 innings. The Red Sox may have needed to tap into their bullpen earlier than the O’s but their relievers were even more effective. Five relief pitchers entered the game for Boston and none of them allowed a hit or walk.
Once again the Red Sox spoiled the Orioles evening by picking up a go ahead run in the top of the eleventh. Brad Brach was entering his second inning of relief and just like Monday’s game, the Red Sox loaded the bases with two outs. Instead of a clutch base hit, the Red Sox were gifted a run when Brach threw a wild pitch.
The O’s certainly had their chances to score on Tuesday. In the third inning Manny Machado picked up a two out double but was cut down at the plate while trying to score. Chris Davis also came close to breaking the shutout in the fifth inning. Davis sent a ball to deep center field that was definitely on its way out but Jackie Bradley Jr. made an amazing leaping grab to prevent another potential O’s run.
After dropping their fifth straight series the Orioles couldn’t get anything going in Wednesdays series finale. The Red Sox struck first in the fourth inning with a pair of two-run homers by Deven Marrero and the Oriole Killer, Mookie Betts.
Hanley Ramirez added two more runs in the fifth with a double to give Boston a 6-0 lead. This hit also drove Wade Miley out of the game after just 4.1 innings of work. Miley now holds a 10.06 ERA in four starts this month.
The O’s offense was nowhere to be found through the first six innings. It looked like they were finally going to get something going in the seventh when Trey Mancini led off with a double but Chris Sale was able to strike out the side and escape the slight jam.
The Red Sox picked up two more runs in the eighth off of Tanner Scott, who was making his MLB debut. Despite clocking in at 100 mph on a few pitches, Scott couldn’t put the Boston batters away. The 23-year-old allowed four base runners and two runs before escaping the inning.
Chris Sale remained in the game for the eighth and proceeded to pick up his 13th strikeout of the game and 300th of the season. Sale becomes the second Red Sox pitcher to accomplish this milestone after Pedro Martinez racked up 313 in 1999.
This was just one of many highlights for the Red Sox as they picked up a 9-0 win and a sweep over their division rivals. The heated matchups between these teams feel like a distant memory at this point as the Orioles failed to play with any ambition and let another team walk over them on their way to the postseason.
The Orioles will play four games against the Rays this weekend for their last home series of the season. As the final week of their 2017 campaign nears, the O’s are also staring at their first losing season since 2011. Baltimore is seven games under .500 with just nine left to play.
Image Credit: Associated Press