BOSTON - The Orioles committed three errors in the first two innings and added a passed ball to the toxic mix. But in the end, they celebrated a 6-4 win in 13 innings that made the miscues seem a little less important.
Not that manager Buck Showalter overlooked or excused them. They were just easier to accept.
“We played solid,” he said. “I’m just disappointed we threw the ball around a little bit tonight, but other than that, I’ll take it. You don’t usually lead that column over there and win.”
The Orioles keep winning, improving their record to 17-9.
Wei-Yin Chen went the first five innings and allowed four runs (three earned). The rotation had produced nine quality starts in the last 10 games, but Chen couldn’t continue the trend. He did, however, keep the Red Sox from pulling away.
“He didn’t let that game get away from him,” Showalter said. “There were some innings where he gave them one, but he didn’t give them three or four. He probably should have pitched seven innings tonight if we caught the ball a little better behind him. Or rather, throw the ball. It wasn’t a matter of catching it as much as kind of being careless with some throws.”
The bullpen blanked Boston over the final eight innings.
Are the relievers sort of feeding off each other?
Showalter keeps disputing that theory, no matter how many times it’s floated.
“You can make a strong case for it and it would make a lot of sense, but I just think everybody knows when it’s their turn and we’re going to be able to pass the load around when it’s their time to contribute,” Showalter said. “That bodes well for their health, the rest factor. But I thought (Troy) Patton was big tonight. I had him up two or three times, trying to keep the left-handers on the bench. And he got some right-handed hitters out in Fenway Park, which is tough for a left-hander.
“(Luis) Ayala got big outs, (Matt) Lindstrom, (Pedro) Strop, Chen. J.J. (Hardy) made a big play. Robert (Andino) made a great play. (Luis) Exposito came in and handled himself well. I thought Ronny (Paulino) did a pretty good job with Chen, trying to get through that. But I think Chen being able to stay away from the big inning was big, too.”
The game included Mark Reynolds’ first home run, which might relax him. He also doubled, walked and had a big sacrifice fly that provided the final margin.
“He had some really good at-bats tonight,” Showalter said. “I thought the tack-on run, that’s one of the things good clubs are able to do. Very little margin for error there in the last inning. But I hope so. We’ll see. Mark’s obviously streaky and I hope this is the beginning of him being able to contribute the way he’s able to offensively.”
When a reporter suggested this is the type of game the Orioles would have lost in previous years, Showalter replied, “We had some games we won like this last year. We had some really good streaks and periods of good baseball last year where things went like this. I think it’s drawing more attention because it’s the first four weeks of the season. I think everybody in there realizes what a marathon this is.”
One impressive feature of the season is how the Orioles are winning in tough venues. They just took two of three at Yankee Stadium and beat the Red Sox tonight at Fenway Park.
“We’ve got some people who have been in this arena before,” Showalter said. “I think they’ve all kind of got some challenges behind them that a lot of young players go through. The arena and the atmosphere and all those things shouldn’t catch them by surprise. You’ve got to play good regardless of the atmosphere.”