The Red Sox are serious about securing the top seed in the American League playoffs.
They sent nine batters to the plate in the first inning and jumped Orioles starter Scott Feldman for five runs, the last three coming on Daniel Nava’s home run to right field.
Five straight batters reached after Feldman retired leadoff hitter Jacoby Ellsbury. Mike Napoli doubled to score Dustin Pedroia and Nava followed with his 12th home run on a 75 mph curveball.
Left-hander Zach Britton warmed in the bullpen as Stephen Drew tripled with two outs, the Red Sox’s fifth hit of the inning, to score Jonny Gomes.
Feldman threw 32 pitches in the inning. He hadn’t allowed more than three earned runs in his last eight starts.
Napoli is 12-for-28 with two homers and seven RBIs lifetime vs. Feldman. Pedroia is 7-for-16.
The Orioles have 35 wins when their opponent scores first, the second-best total in the majors behind Kansas City (37). Atlanta is third with 34 wins.
I’m saying there’s still a chance.
As for Sunday’s starter, the Orioles are still leaning toward Chris Tillman. However, that plan could change if the game is meaningless for the Red Sox and Athletics.
In other words, nothing has changed.
The Orioles (9-7) are the only American League East team to post a winning record against the Red Sox this season. The Yankees were 6-13, the Rays were 7-12 and the Blue Jays were 8-11.
Showalter spoke earlier today about the “personal pride on this team,” which kicks in again tonight despite the Orioles being out of the playoff picture.
“I think it’s more of a competitiveness,” he said. “They know that Oakland’s counting on us. We’ve counted on teams this year and last year. Oakland and Boston have both cashed their ticket, they’re in. It’s just a matter of how in are they down the road?
“It’s an envious spot to be in for them. I think we owe it to everybody to put our best foot forward. Fortunately, we’re physically able to do that.
“With the routine and everything, we’re going to play a game at 7:05 and we’re going to compete. And it’s all hands on deck.”
“I think every guy’s different. You can’t throw a blanket over everybody down there and say everybody’s feeling exactly the same thing. I hate that sound of the packing tape that you hear. You have certain sounds that you hear and you associate with certain things.”
Like a season being over while others are playing into October.
“We know, statistically looking at things where we have to improve to get to Tampa and Boston’s level,” Showalter said. “We’ve got it. You’ve got it. That’s simple.”
Showalter said players have told him that Jonathan Schoop’s home run to center field on Wednesday would have been an out at Triple-A Norfolk’s Harbor Park.
The fences at Harbor Park will be moved in next year, according to Showalter.
Commissioner Bud Selig is retiring after the 2014 season, and Showalter said he would strongly recommend former Orioles executive Andy MacPhail.
Showalter said he watched video today of Japanese pitcher Masahiro Tanaka, 24, who’s expected to pursue a major league career.
Update: Feldman was charged with eight runs, his most as an Oriole, and eight hits in 2 1/3 innings. That’s his shortest start since the trade.
Jarrod Saltalamacchia had an RBI double in the third after umpires initially ruled it a three-run homer. Zach Britton inherited two runners, and they both scored on Drew’s single.
Update II: Adam Jones hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the third to reduce Boston’s lead to 8-2.
Jones has a career-high 33 homers this season.
Brian Roberts is 2-for-2 tonight.