BOSTON - Dustin Pedroia led off the bottom of the first inning tonight with a home run to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead over the Orioles.
Pedroia’s ball cleared the seats atop the Green Monster for the 17th home run allowed by Scott Feldman this season and the seventh with the Orioles in 78 innings.
Pedroia has three career leadoff home runs, the last coming Oct. 3, 2009 against the Indians.
Manny Machado reached on an infield single in the top of the first, tying him with Adrian Beltre for the American League lead in hits with 184. The Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter has 185.
Machado collected his 50th double on Saturday to lead the American League and leave him one behind Carpenter. According to Elias, the only other players to hit 50 doubles in a season as a third baseman are Detroit’s George Kell (56 in 1950), Colorado’s Jeff Cirillo (53 in 2000) and Cincinnati’s Pete Rose (50 in 1978).
The Orioles turned a nice 4-6-3 double play in the first, and Machado charged Mike Napoli’s slow roller and threw him out to end the inning.
The Orioles have registered 113 errorless games this season to tie the 2008 Astros for the most in a season since 1900.
Chris Davis struck out tonight for the 183rd time, leaving him 17 short of 200 for the season. The Orioles have 12 games remaining in the regular season after tonight.
As for Saturday’s starter, while the Orioles are hoping that Bud Norris is able to take the mound, manager Buck Showalter is prepared to use as many pitchers as necessary to cover that game.
“We used to call it ‘Johnny Wholestaff,’ ” he said. “I’m hoping Bud feels well enough to do it.”
The Orioles will decide Thursday what direction they’re going with Norris and whether they’ll need to find another starter. But the uncertainty won’t influence how Showalter uses his bullpen in the next two nights.
“We’re going to grind the heck out of one game and see where we’re standing, and if we need to go get another pitcher, they’re sitting down there in Sarasota ready to go,” Showalter said. “I’m not managing like you normally do with the bullpen.”
Jason Hammel is available out of the bullpen tonight. He’s scheduled to start Friday night’s series opener against the Rays at Tropicana Field.
Showalter had a difficult conversation with veteran Wilson Betemit yesterday, as the Orioles made the decision to designated him for assignment to create a spot for Henry Urrutia on the 40-man roster.
“Wilson’s a good man,” Showalter said. “Those are the worst conversations I have. It seems like I’ve had a lot of them since spring started. Any time you’re releasing a guy or DFAing him or potentially saying goodbye... but you never know what the future’s going to bring.
“The only way I can make it work in my mind a little bit and rationalize it because of your relationship with him is, I don’t think he’s completely where he’s going to be, and I think to get ready for winter ball, where he can show everybody that he’s back physically, I think this will be good or him. I know his goal is to play in winter ball and show everybody that he’s healthy again, and if that’s the case, then he’ll be a contributor on a major league club next year. He’s just not in a position right now to do that consistently and we needed the roster spot, and just felt like at this point he was the least usable piece.
“I just don’t think it was fair to him. We tried to find out if he could get it going a little bit, but it just wasn’t there.”
Urrutia is likely to stay in Sarasota until reporting to the Arizona Fall League next month.
“He’s getting ready to come up here, and if we don’t have that need, then he’ll finish instructional league, which he needs, and then he’ll go to the fall league,” Showalter said. “So there’s three things that he’s getting out of it.”
Urrutia is playing the outfield in the instructional league.
“I think one good thing about him and Jonathan (Schoop) and all these guys being up here is they realize how important defense is and we’re going to stress it just like everybody else does,” Showalter said. “It’s part of the resume and we want it to be a strong part of the resume here in Baltimore.”
Schoop still hasn’t made his major league debut and he may not get into a game this month, but the Orioles will keep him in the majors.
“I think he’s getting the benefit of every day here,” Showalter said. “He’s got the potential to be here at some point next year or so, and I think every ballpark he gets to, every clubhouse he gets to, every other team he sees and understands... I don’t want there to be any unknown going into his career next year. I think everything you can eliminate like that makes him a little more at peace when he gets here, if he does.”