Written by Lee Tackett
Mike Carp had a pinch hit RBI single off Tommy Hunter in the eighth off of Tommy Hunter to take the lead as the Red Sox beat the Orioles 4-3. The O's carried a 3-1 lead into the seventh, but were unable to hold off the Sox offense during the later innings. Chris Davis hit his 47th home run in the losing effort.
After the offense spotted Norris a run in the top half of the first, Bud Norris committed a cardinal sin and walked Jacoby Ellsbury to lead off the inning, who promptly stole second. It was labor intensive, but Norris settled down and retired the next three including a nice play on a Dustin Pedroia chopper to the left of the mound and a David Ortiz fly out to the base of the Monster. Norris worked a scoreless second and struck out two.
Yet again after being given a run, Norris walked Stephen Drew to lead off the third. Ellsbury pushed Drew into scoring position with a one out single. Shane Victorino continued his assault on the Orioles pitching staff and punched a high fastball back through the middle for an RBI single. Norris's command continued to falter and he walked Pedroia to load the bases. He fell behind Ortiz 2-0 but came back and struck him out for the second out then painted the inner black on Daniel Nava to get out of the jam. Norris scrambled through the fourth and fifth unscathed and exited in the sixth with a man on following a strike out.
Norris battled so so command all night, but made good pitches with runners on base to get out of innings. The back to back strike outs to end the third were huge and seemed to carry him through the rest of the outing. His high pitch count kept him from going deeper into the game, but he held a good Boston offense to just one run in 5.1 innings and struck out seven without his best stuff.
Francisco Rodriguez came on in the sixth and induced an inning ending double play but allowed a double and a single sandwiched around a line out before exiting. Both runners would eventually score.
Darren O'Day relieved Rodriguez and got Victorino to line out. However, Pedroia followed with a two RBI single through the left side to tie the game.
Brian Matusz entered after the Pedroia single and fell behind Ortiz 3-0 but induced a fly out to end the inning then struck out Nava in the eighth to complete his evening.
Tommy Hunter followed Matusz and struck out Napoli but then trouble began. Jared Saltalamacchia lifted a double that nearly cleared the Monster down the left field line to start the rally. The Orioles intentionally walked Drew to set up a force play, but Mike Carp fisted a ball just out of the reach of a diving Manny Machado to put the Red Sox ahead 4-3.
The Orioles offense gave Bud Norris a lead to work with before he set foot on the mound. Machado legged out an infield chopper to start the rally and came home when Chris Davis ripped a 1-0 breaking ball into the right field corner for a double. Reminiscent of Tuesday's game however, the Orioles couldn't put up a crooked number and Davis was stranded after back to back outs.
Brian Roberts led off the third with a walk, then stole his third base of the year to get into scoring position but got overzealous and was thrown out trying to steal third for the second out of the inning. This was particularly unfortunate because the next pitch Manny Machado went up and out over the Monster to make the lead 2-0.
To lead off the sixth, Davis launched a pitch to straight away center for his 47th home run of the season to push the lead to 3-1.
Norris helped his cause in the first by barehanding a Pedroia chopper and whipping it to first in one motion. The play verged on disaster but Davis dug out the throw for the second out of the inning.
Jones made a terrific shoestring catch in the third to take a hit away from Xander Bogaerts.
O'Day made a decent pitch to Pedroia in the seventh, but it found its way through the infield to tie the game. Hunter made an even better pitch but Carp muscled it over the infield to drive in the go ahead run.
Observations and Musings
-Roberts is a good enough base runner to be able to stop when he doesn't get a good jump. With the recent Orioles offensive issues, it makes sense that Roberts would want to be 90 feet closer, but the jump wasn't good enough to take third and it ultimately cost the team a run.
-K-Rod has been good of late, but he has been a one inning guy his entire career and I wonder how sitting between innings effects him.
-This is a very difficult time for certain members of the Orioles offense to go into a slump. Both Wieters and Jones are hitless in the series.
-Tampa Bay, Oakland, and Boston (obviously) all won today so this was an especially tough loss to take.
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