Written by Chris Slade
Today's game started at 1:35 ET and Bud Norris and Felix Doubront took the mound. The Orioles jumped out to an early lead in the first on an RBI single off the bat of Nelson Cruz. The Red Sox even up the score in the bottom of the 1st after Dustin Pedroia scored on a fielding error by Jonathan Schoop at third. Both pitcher would settle in over the next few innings. The Red Sox took the lead in the 4th with a solo homer off the bat of David Ortiz that snuck around the pesky pole. The Orioles would tie things back up in the 6th on an RBI infield single by Cruz on which he was initially ruled out before the O's made the challenge. Norris allowed the go-ahead run in the 7th on an RBI triple off the bat of Brock Holt. The Red Sox then added another run when Jonathan Herrera succesfully got Holt home on a sacrifice bunt. The Sox held on for the win as former Oriole Koji Uehara notched the save.
While this wasn't the Red Sox A-lineup today, Bud Norris still handled them very well aside from the two crucial mistake pitches to David Ortiz in the 4th and Brock Holt in the 7th. For the most part, Norris commanded his fastball very well and had a little extra oomph on the pitch today, consistently dialing his heater up to 95 mph when he wanted to. His slider was an out-pitch today against both lefties and righties and he even mixed in a couple decent looking changeups, one of which sat down Grady Sizemore in the 1st inning. He pitched better than his overall line of four earned runs would indicate and ended notching seven strikeouts on the day.
Final Line: 6.1 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K, Loss
Evan Meek relieved Bud Norris in the 7th inning and allowed an inherited runner to score from third on Jonathan Herrera's sac bunt.
Ryan Webb pitched the 8th inning and showed probably the best stuff I've seen from him so far. He allowed a single to Dustin Pedroia but struck out Mike Napoli on a nasty 93 MPH sinker to end the inning.
The Orioles for the most part boast a strong track record against Felix Doubront and looked ready to back that up in the 1st inning. Nick Markakis led of with a single up the middle and stole second as Delmon Ypung struck out. After Adam Jones drew a walk, Nelson Cruz was able to drive in Markakis from second with an RBI single.
Felix Doubront settled in after that and retired the next ten Orioles he faced. His fastball command was on today and he did a pretty good job of working consistently down in the zone. When Doubront is on he has strikeout stuff, and was able to punch out seven Orioles in total as he dueled with Bud Norris into the 7th.
Nelson Cruz finished 2-for-4 and drive in both Orioles runs. Markakis also finished 2-for-3 in the leadoff spot and also drew a walk.
Adam Jones finished 1-for-3 with a walk, single, and run scored in the 7th inning on Cruz's infield single.
Jonathan Schoop fielded a chopper in the first that he appeared to rush the throw on and ultimately bobbled and dropped for the error as the run scored. Had he gotten a clean throw off to second, its possible the Orioles could have turned a double play to get out of the inning but it would have been close.
Key Moments In The Game
Both pitchers brought their A game today so the key moments came down to who could take advantage of the mistakes. That team today was the Red Sox as they took adavantage of Schoop's error at thirs to score a run in the 1st. Big Papi took advantage of a fastball left over the middle for a home run as did Brock Holt in the 7th inning for an RBI triple.
Other Notes/ Musings
David Ross ran his mouth when Bud Norris threw a high and inside fastball while he was attempting a bunt in the 7th inning. The benches cleared but a brawl did not ensue and Ross returned to the batters box where he was promptly sat down on a nasty slider.
The Orioles won their first challenge of the year when the umps overturned the call and ruled Nelson Cruz safe at first for an RBI infield single.
Some Sunday night ESPN action on the docket for tomorrow. Ubaldo Jimenez and Jake Peavy on the bump. And, of course, I will be on a plane at 7:30 so I will miss mot of the game.
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