Unearned runs costly in 3-1 loss (Monday game postponed)

BOSTON - The weather couldn’t keep the Orioles from playing today. It couldn’t disturb Dylan Bundy, who operated as if conditions were normal. Fastball, slider and maybe a few shivers, but nothing he couldn’t handle.

Out of his control were a couple of plays behind him in the sixth inning that allowed batters to reach. Mistakes that the Red Sox parlayed into another lead and a win.

sidebar-Bundy-grey.jpgTwo unearned runs off Bundy and a muted offense were the difference in the Orioles’ 3-1 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park, their fifth defeat in the last six games.

J.D. Martinez led off the sixth by reaching on Danny Valencia’s second fielding error in two days, moved to third on Mitch Moreland’s second double of the game and scored on a wild pitch to break a 1-1 tie. Bundy struck out the next two batters, the slider being his most effective pitch, but Brock Holt reached on an infield hit, with Chris Davis unable to scoop Valencia’s throw in the dirt.

Bundy should have been back in the dugout, but he continued and the Red Sox scored again on Tzu-Wei Lin’s automatic double.

Richard Bleier replaced Bundy, whose ERA climbed from 1.35 to 1.40 while he remained winless in four starts. He was charged with three runs (one earned) and seven hits in 5 2/3 innings, with two walks, six strikeouts and two wild pitches.

Twenty pitches in the sixth raised his total to 94.

Bleier got the final out in the sixth on Jackie Bradley Jr.’s ground ball, but Davis had to scoop another Valencia throw in the dirt. Valencia shook his right hand, probably in an attempt to regain the feeling, as he headed toward the bench.

With a game time temperature of 34 degrees, players took the field in ski masks and everyone wore No. 42 to honor Jackie Robinson. Identifying certain hitters and relievers required special skills. Recognize a stance, a build, a throwing motion.

The Red Sox announced in the middle innings that they were offering free hot chocolate to fans. The bundled masses probably welcomed it over 10-cent beer night.

Chris Sale ditched the sleeves and braved the elements. He lost his chance at a shutout in the first inning on Trey Mancini’s leadoff single and Manny Machado’s one-out double into the left field corner.

Mancini began the day batting .359 (14-for-39) in nine games as the leadoff hitter.

Sale didn’t give up another run, but he was done after five innings and 93 pitches. The Orioles didn’t get another hit until Craig Gentry singled to lead off the sixth.

The game ended with the Orioles (5-11) stuck on three hits.

The Orioles have scored one run or fewer in five of their 16 games and in three of the last six. They’ve been held to two runs or fewer in seven games.

Bundy retired the side in order on only five pitches in the bottom of the first inning. Teammates wanted to organize a parade in his honor.

The Orioles have been outscored 22-5 in the first. It’s getting better. One run at a time.

Moreland doubled with one out in the second and Rafael Devers walked, but Bundy stranded them. Andrew Benintendi doubled with two outs in the third and was stranded.

Bundy used his slider to strike out Martinez and Christian Vázquez in the second and Hanley Ramirez in the third. He kept throwing if for strikes and missing bats.

Martinez drew a leadoff walk in the fourth, but Moreland popped up, Devers struck out on a 92 mph fastball and Vázquez popped up a slider. But the Red Sox tied the game in the fifth on Benintendi’s two-out triple into the right field corner that scored Bradley, who grounded into a force play after Lin’s single.

Hembree retired the next three batters after Gentry’s single and stolen base. Gentry walked with two outs in the eighth, but Machado flied out.

Benintendi came within a home run of the cycle. He singled in the seventh and tried to score on Moreland’s two-out single, but Mancini threw him out and the call stood after a review.

Left-hander Brian Johnson was warming in the Red Sox bullpen in the eighth. He’s scheduled to start Monday morning, but the forecast calls for heavy rain throughout the day and there are rumblings of an early postponement.

Here are some postgame quotes:

Manager Buck Showalter on Bundy: “Dylan was outstanding. Just remarkable for me to watch him plying his trade or whatever in those type of conditions. I can’t tell you how hard that is and that was impressive. I’m sure Dylan’s done a little duck hunting in his life. That’s kind of what that was like.”

Showalter on what Bundy showed him: “Just verifies what we already know and think. Dylan’s a guy, you know? He’s a guy. He’s very mature baseball-wise and he gets it. He’s a baseball player who happens to be a pitcher.”

Showalter on conditions: “It was tough. Obviously, Chris Sale is an outstanding pitcher and we think Dylan is, too, so to watch those two guys work in those conditions ... Weather is weather. We haven’t swung the bats well and they’re pitching well. You can talk about conditions, you can talk about the other pitcher, but we’ve got to swing the bats better. We know that. Everybody does.”

Showalter on plays not made in sixth: “We’re all playing in the same conditions. It’s tough, it’s real hard. You can’t feel your hands or the ball and it is what it is. I really don’t want to use the weather as an excuse and I know our guys don’t either, but it’s really tough to play in. But it was tough for them, too.”

Bundy on conditions: “It’s not easy, that’s for sure, but they’ve got to deal with the same conditions as we do. It’s just, you’ve got to go out and battle and give your team a chance to win.”

Bundy on comparable conditions: “I’ve pitched in cold weather before, but that was a few years back when I did it that cold. Like I said, I felt great out there. I was able to get warm pregame and pretty much stay warm the whole game.”

Bundy on still being winless: “Like I said, it ain’t about my wins. Like I said last time, it’s team wins. Right now, we’re not getting team wins either, so just go out there every five days and try and give my team the chance to win the best I can.”

Davis on whether he’s played in this weather: “No. And they were extremely difficult, but they were difficult for both sides. I think if you kind of look at their approach, the first few hitters in the top of their order, they were hacking, which was probably the best approach today. But they’re tough. Chris Sale is tough. He’s one of the best in the American League, one of the best in the big leagues. He’s tough when it’s 70-75 (degrees). But you’ve got to grind through it, hang in there, wait for a pitch to hit and put a good swing on it. Unfortunately, we just didn’t have quite enough today.

“I thought we did a great job of trying to make him work, trying to make him throw a bunch of pitches. Dylan obviously threw the ball outstanding. Those are the games that are tough to lose, especially against a division rival.”

Davis on the offense: “I think a lot of it has to do with the weather. We’ve played very few games with the temperature above 55. And that’s just kind of the way it goes. That’s the old adage, the pitchers have the advantage the first month of the season and it takes the hitters a little bit to get their timing down. When you’re battling the elements like this on a day in, day out basis it makes it that much harder. But we can’t make any excuses.

“We have to continue to work. I said it the other day, you’ve got to continue to trust the process and understand there’s a long season and there’s a lot of baseball to be played.”

Davis on whether it’s frustrating to not capitalize on Bundy starts: “Absolutely, absolutely. Anytime you have a guy throwing the ball like that, you want to get him some runs and kind of take a little bit of pressure off of him and he’s really risen to the occasion on every start he made this year. He’s thrown the ball well. He’s given us the chance to win and that’s really all you can ask from our starters. So, I’m extremely proud of him and I know he’s going to continue to do that. Our job is to continue as an offense to go out there and pick him up and get him some runs.”

Davis on sixth inning miscues: “When you’re having to make sure that you have a grip on the ball before you throw, you’re just giving a guy that much more time to get down the line. With the conditions the way they were, we knew we were going to have a challenge ahead of us. We couldn’t get a hit when we needed it, we couldn’t get a guy on base when we needed it, get some pressure on the other team. I felt like they got some timely hits. They swung the bats well. They got (10) hits. You’ve got to give credit where credit is due.”

Davis on small margin for error: “Yeah, I think so, especially when you’re facing a guy like Chris Sale, you’re going to try and take advantage of any opportunities he gives you, they’re probably going to be few and far between. That’s the name of the game is eliminating the mistakes and trying to play mistake-free baseball, especially like when the weather was like it was today.”

Davis on whether he expected game to be played: “Yes, I thought we would play today because I knew the weather for the next couple of days doesn’t look very good. I thought if there was a chance for us to play today, whether it was in the sleet and snow, I think we kind of expected to play.”

Update: Monday morning’s game has been postponed and rescheduled for May 17 at Fenway Park.

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