Tommy Hunter retired the first six batters he faced tonight, striking out two. He just couldn’t sustain that momentum.
Hunter allowed five runs and nine hits over six innings and left with the score tied, 5-5.
“He was driving the ball down and away to right-handed hitters, but then he just started elevating the ball,” manager Buck Showalter said following the Orioles’ 8-6 loss to the Red Sox. “Made some mistakes and paid for it. Gets him behind in the count, too.
“Tommy was pitching real well there for a while, but that’s a lineup that’s swinging the bats well. We gave up 14 hits tonight. That didn’t bode well. But you’ve just got to maintain it. Starting pitchers, your command’s got to be there, and when it is, Tommy’s very effective.
“Tommy shows you why we think good of him for a period of time. But you’ve got to be consistent with it. Tommy knows that. He’s frustrated by that last inning.”
Hunter balked in the tying run as part of Boston’s three-run sixth.
“We have to do a better job keeping our composure on the balk,” Showalter said. “Whether it’s somebody yelling from the dugout or whatever, you control the whole situation there and he’s (Will Middlebrooks) not going anywhere. I don’t know if he was reacting to the yelling or whatever, but we just have to do a better job of keeping our composure there. But there’s a lot more that went into that game than that.
“We had some great opportunities. We had the go-ahead run at the plate (in the eighth). We made them get everybody up in their bullpen tonight and we only had to get two up, so hopefully we can get our sea legs back under us if they’re not.”
Asked again about the balk, Showalter said, “You can go as fast as you want to go, the speed and tempo of which you deliver the ball to the plate, but your right foot, you can’t step off the way he did. It’s a balk. But whether it’s something being yelled from the dugout, it shouldn’t matter. You should be able to keep your composure, especially if you’re in the wind-up. He’s not going anywhere.”
Boston starter Clay Buchholz walked in two runs in the third inning and didn’t figure to stick around much longer, but he lasted 5 1/3 frames.
“I think coming into the game, he’s been throwing 40 percent fastballs and our guys had a good approach to him with the off-speed pitches and we did a good job of getting him out of there, but their bullpen’s very good and they have a lot of weapons down there,” Showalter said.
Kevin Gregg took the loss after allowing two runs in the seventh.
“He didn’t get quite the counts in his favor,” Showalter said. “He was very close to having a very good outing again. Whatever mistakes he made, they put a good swing on it.”
Without being asked, Showalter brought up the ball Chris Davis hit up the first-base line that umpire Larry Vanover ruled foul. The Orioles had two on and no outs in the eighth, with one run already scoring on Matt Wieters’ single.
“I thought a key point was the ball Chris hit down the first-base line,” Showalter said. “Depending how you look at it - we’re a littled biased - Chris came back and told me he thought it was fair, but Kirb (first base coach Wayne Kirby) thought it was foul. But there were enough things to overcome that. It was a close play.”