To look away from the diamond Tuesday night was to shirk the ridiculous, overlook the ludicrous and ignore the constant cracks of the bat that prefaced the cheers or groans around Fenway Park. It was an endless cycle, leaving pitchers shaking their heads as runners whirled around the basepaths at a breakneck pace.
In just the first four innings between the Red Sox and Orioles — an affair that took as long as some nine-inning games do — there were team records set, a major league record tied and a total of 21 runs scored. There was Anthony Santander clobbering his sixth home run in his last four games and fourth in two nights. There was Kyle Bradish and Jake Reed plunking batters with the bases loaded.
Take a baseball bingo board and prepare to yell out, the board utterly completed. The 13-9 win for the Red Sox over the Orioles had it all — all except the much-needed win for the Orioles to keep pace with the Seattle Mariners in a race for the final American League wild-card place with just eight games to play.
The offensive outpouring from both sides continued Monday’s theme, in which Baltimore beat Boston, 14-8, to get the final road trip of the season off on a positive note. Despite all the runs scored, the Orioles only needed three pitchers, saving arms for what turned into a wild second game of the four-game set.
It started with Bradish, who was coming off 8 2/3 dominant innings against the Houston Astros on Thursday. But the command he displayed last week abandoned him in his 2 1/3 innings Tuesday, hurling the lowest strike percentage of his career thus far (51.8%) with four walks, a hit batter and seven runs again him.
While his curveball and slider were his two best pitches against the Astros, he leaned on his four-seam fastball more frequently because Bradish threw first-pitch strikes to just seven of the 18 batters he faced.
And the flow of runs didn’t end there, with right-handers Joey Krehbiel and Reed combining to give up six runs over the next two innings as a second error by second baseman Rougned Odor proved costly. Rookie left-hander DL Hall stemmed that flow with two scoreless innings with three strikeouts, and Bryan Baker, Cionel Perez and Dillon Tate each added a scoreless frame to keep the Red Sox within striking distance.
The Orioles had the offensive firepower necessary to pull out a win, but the unsteadiness of Baltimore’s pitching staff in those first four innings left it far behind. Adley Rutschman snuck a long ball around Pesky’s Pole in right field in the third and Santander continued a strong stretch at the plate with two more home runs. With those two blasts, Santander became the first player to hit homers from both sides of the plate in the same game four times in a season since San Diego’s Ken Caminiti in 1996.
Ramón Urías, back in the lineup and playing third base after missing the last two games as he dealt with a spasm between his neck and right shoulder, was a double away from the cycle. But Urías didn’t have a chance to reach that milestone, leaving in the fifth inning with right knee discomfort. He left the field limping in the second inning after an awkward slide into home plate, then needed help to limp off the field in the fifth.
Before the sixth inning, the Orioles had at least one baserunner on in each of the first 14 innings of the series. They jumped on right-hander Michael Wacha, hitting at least three triples and three homers in the same game for the first time in franchise history. Wacha was doomed to the shortest start of his season, allowing six runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 frames. But that dent on Wacha’s season was overshadowed by the crunch taken by Baltimore’s pitching staff.
The Orioles threatened one last time, loading the bases in the ninth inning. But a double play from Austin Hays ended that opportunity — and ended the game, dropping Baltimore’s magic number for elimination to six.
Marking the Green Monster
With wide eyes, Kyle Stowers and Gunnar Henderson poked their heads into the Green Monster, then searched for a place to sign their names. There’s tradition here — for new players who visit Camden Yards, they have the chance to leave their mark.
And while Stowers already did that in a way Monday with an RBI triple off the giant wall, he and Henderson wielded markers instead of bats Tuesday afternoon. They found a spot on the low concrete ceiling, where Henderson signed just his first name: Gunnar.
“That’s how you know you’re big time,” Stowers joked. “You can sign just your first name.”
Hall and Reed also signed the wall, making their first trip to the historic venue. As they looked around, they commented on some names they saw, including former Orioles infielder Pat Valaika. Reed signed his name next to Orioles pitchers Dean Kremer and Nick Vespi.
Around the horn
- Manager Brandon Hyde said right-hander Mike Baumann will start for the Orioles in Thursday’s series finale against the Boston Red Sox. Baumann earns his second consecutive start after right-hander Tyler Wells’ season ended on the 15-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation. Last time out, Baumann allowed two runs in four innings against the Astros.
- Infielder Terrin Vavra said he felt a “zinger” in his left hamstring as he ran out a double play Sunday, holding him out of the lineup for the second straight game. He said he was available off the bench if required, but so close to the end of the season, Vavra said he doesn’t “want to do anything that’s too aggressive” to cause a larger issue.
This story will be updated.
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