BOSTON - Orioles starter Jake Arrieta watched the ninth-inning rally tonight on one of the televisions in the visiting clubhouse at Fenway Park.
“We were freaking out pretty good,” he said.
The Chris Davis leadoff homer. The two-out single by Ryan Flaherty. The back-to-back walks to Nolan Reimold and Nate McLouth. The wild pitch from Red Sox closer Joel Hanrahan that tied the game. The three-run homer by Manny Machado, his first of the season, that untied it.
“It really didn’t matter when we get a win like this during the season,” Arrieta said. “They’re all big, especially second game in Fenway of the season. Fans are pumped up, team’s pumped up. To get to their closer like that in the ninth is big.”
A huge weight was lifted off Flaherty, who had been 0-for-17.
“I got up there and tried to be aggressive right away,” he said. “I swung at ball one and tried to get on base. Personally, obviously, no one wants to start a season like I did offensively, so that’s good, too.”
The slump had to be on Flaherty’s mind.
“Yeah, obviously,” he said. “I wasn’t sure exactly of the number - 16, 17, 18, somewhere. It was getting a lot. You want to get on base and give the team a chance to win.”
Flaherty had struck out in all three at-bats before the ninth.
“Very frustrating,” he said. “Three strikeouts on the day and hadn’t had a hit yet, so you know, I’ve got to keep fighting and keep battling, find a way to help the team win and try and build off that.”
Machado came through with his first career home run in the ninth inning or later. He had been 1-for-18.
“(Flaherty) got the show started,” Machado said. “Him starting it off gave us the little rally we needed to come out with the victory today.
“I’ve been sticking with the approach that I’ve had the whole season, sticking to it and not trying to change anything. That’s how you dig yourself into a deeper hole. I just went up there trying to stay with the same approach I’ve had. And it paid off finally.
“I was just trying to make contact with it, trying to hit it hard somewhere and try to get that run in. From that first-pitch slider in the dirt, we went ahead at that time. I was just looking for something good to hit nice and hard and he gave me a fastball.
“My whole mentality was to go up there and be aggressive and try to look for a pitch I could hit, that I could drive and get a couple runs in. After that run came in, I just wanted to hit the ball hard somewhere and get another run in.”
The Orioles avoided their fourth consecutive loss.
“It was a huge win for us,” Machado said. “To come out here, we were down the whole game, and we fought back and we came back. To come out with the victory, it’s really going to give us the big boost we needed to get this show going.”
Arrieta wanted to keep going after the 43-minute rain delay, but manager Buck Showalter wasn’t going to risk it.
“After the fifth was over, I came in here and sat on the bike,” he said. “Just wanted to stay loose, stay hot. Didn’t know how long the delay was going to go. I think it was around 50 minutes and they wanted to be careful because it’s early in the year. I was a little upset about that, but they have my best interests as well as the team’s in mind.
“Me having a low pitch count and feeling like I had two or three more innings to give, keep some of the guys in the bullpen that didn’t need to throw tonight, but that’s things we’re going to have to kind of deal with throughout the year, especially early when the weather is bad.”
Arrieta walked four batters over five innings, and he knows that’s unacceptable.
“I talked to Rick (Adair) in between innings and I think it was pretty obvious that I was thinking about the wrong thing in that situation,” Arrieta said. “Rather than just be smooth, throw the ball down in the zone, I was way too worried about throwing a strike there. I got back on track, got (Will) Middlebrooks to ground into that double play and get out of the inning. The damage was minimized there. But it was a little frustrating for me. But the less I dwell on something like that, the better. For me, when something like that happens, put it in the back of your mind and move forward.”