The Orioles can’t win their division. They can’t finish above .500. They can’t seem to avoid weather-related delays. They can’t slow down the Red Sox.
There’s always the task of avoiding a four-game sweep at home before jumping into the arms of another off-day.
Yefry Ramírez followed his shortest career start last weekend in Texas with one of his finest tonight in Game 2 of a doubleheader. But he was capped off again at five innings and a tie transferred to the bullpen.
Cody Carroll walked the first two batters he faced, got a double play and uncorked a wild pitch to score the go-ahead run. Joey Rickard hit a solo home run off Heath Hembree in the bottom of the sixth to produce another tie, and Mike Wright Jr. took his turn.
J.D. Martinez homered for the second time, his two-run shot in the eighth sparking the Red Sox’s 6-4 victory before an announced crowd of 24,051 at Camden Yards.
A fourth straight loss has lowered the Orioles’ record to 35-83 overall and 20-38 at home. And they get left-hander Chris Sale on Sunday, a 6 foot 6 shaker of salt for their wounds.
Former Oriole Steve Pearce singled with one out and Martinez reached the seats in left-center field for his third multi-homer game of the season - all of them against the Orioles.
Mookie Betts doubled off Paul Fry in the ninth and scored on Brock Holt’s single. Four runs in four innings from the Orioles’ bullpen.
Trey Mancini homered off Craig Kimbrel with two outs to provide the final margin. He had three hits and walked twice.
The doubleheader provided the Red Sox with their 83rd and 84th wins. They were held to three hits in the nightcap until the decisive eighth.
Two walks and a wild pitch from William Cuevas brought the go-ahead run to the plate in the bottom of the eighth, but Jace Peterson fanned after disputing a strike call on the previous pitch, the ball clearly outside the zone.
Pearce raced home with two outs in the sixth inning after Carroll sailed a 96 mph fastball over catcher Caleb Joseph, nearly taking down the netting behind home plate.
Carroll has made four appearances with the Orioles. He allowed two runs and walked two batters in two-thirds of an inning Thursday night at Tropicana Field and again lost the plate tonight.
Rickard’s seventh home run could have given the Orioles a lead except Cedric Mullins, after drawing a one-out walk, broke way early for second base and was thrown out attempting to steal.
Ramírez worked five innings for the sixth time in nine appearances. He allowed two runs and three hits with two walks, five strikeouts and Martinez’s homer in the fourth.
Manager Buck Showalter removed him after 88 pitches.
The Orioles couldn’t hold an early 2-0 lead and the Red Sox tied the game in the fifth on Eduardo Nuñez’s leadoff triple and Dan Butler’s sacrifice fly. Mullins ran a couple of miles into right-center field and still didn’t get a glove on Nuñez’s ball.
Chris Davis appeared in his 1,000th game with the Orioles, the 18th player in club history to reach that total. He celebrated by being hit by a pitch in the second inning after Mancini’s leadoff single.
Mancini came home on Renato Núñez’s double to left field - Martinez played the ball like a designated hitter - but the Orioles stranded two runners in scoring position.
Davis held on Mullins’ grounder to second and again as Betts ran down Rickard’s fly ball in foul territory. Rafael Devers robbed Joseph of an RBI single, with Pearce keeping his foot on the bag while stretching for the throw and landing on his belly.
Red Sox right-hander Hector Velázquez was removed after 2 2/3 innings, which is stretching out a starter if you pitch for the Rays. Brandon Workman inherited Peterson and let him score on Mancini’s second hit of the night to give the Orioles a 2-0 lead.
Workman walked the next two batters to load the bases but Mullins grounded into a force.
Ramírez retired eight of the first nine batters before Betts singled and drew more “MVP” chants from the Red Sox faithful.
Martinez would like a minute for rebuttal.
Note: Former second baseman Brian Roberts and broadcaster Fred Manfra were inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame before Game 2.
Fifty-six former Orioles are in the club’s Hall of Fame.
Roberts honored the fans and praised Baltimore as the greatest baseball city.
“You guys gave me life,” he said, “you gave me so much over 13 years.”
One of Roberts’ sons threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Adam Jones.
Manfra was behind the mic for Cal Ripken Jr.’s 400th home run and Eddie Murray’s 500th. He thanked his wife, Marlene, for her support over the years and former broadcast partners Joe Angel and Jim Hunter, who applauded him from the radio booth. One of the nicest men I’ve met in this business.
Guests today included Murray, Brooks Robinson, Al Bumbry, Scott McGregor, Tippy Martinez, Brady Anderson, Boog Powell, Mike Bordick, Rick Dempsey and Richie Bancells.
Manfra glanced at the other Hall of Famers on both sides of him and said, “My heroes are all here.”
Showalter on Ramirez: “Good, good. I like Yefry. I think he’s got a nice demeanor about him. He’s gotten better. I thought he was carrying the best fastball he’s had all year and gave us a good chance. He had to work so hard. Pitch count got up there, too. I wanted to get him out on a good note and I wanted Carroll to start a fresh inning instead of coming in with people on base.
“He hasn’t really gotten too far along with his pitch count yet, but it was a good outing by him and (Jimmy) Yacabonis. I would have taken that going in.”
On whether was concerned about short starts on both ends: “We prepared for it. (Sean) Gilmartin. I would have taken what they gave us on the surface going in. Neither one of them imploded. They made some good pitches and gave us a chance to win both games.
“We didn’t get it done after they left the game. That was our problem. It’s really been a challenge, especially with our young pitchers.”
On whether Red Sox are example of what Orioles need to do: “I don’t need the Red Sox to show me that. We showed them that quite a few times. We’d like to do that again. That’s what we’re planning on doing. They’re a good team with a lot of pieces and they pitched every guy in their bullpen, even the guy they brought up, just because they know they had (David) Price going in Game 1 and they knew they had Sale going tomorrow. So, hopefully we can mess up those plans.
“They’re a good team, but I don’t need them having a really good year so far to tell us what we have to do. It’s not an example. It’s something we know because we’ve done it, too”
On whether Davis should have scored from third on either play: “Yeah, Chris knows that. I was trying to get an explanation from Bobby (Dickerson. I don’t know if they thought the pitcher was going to cut the ball off. Great job by Cedric. What a great at-bat. You’re getting ready to have a man at third and one out and he executed it fine. Chris just got a bad read on it.
“The other one, Bobby said that they thought it had a chance to fall and they respected Betts. In fact, some people might tell you he might have been out anyway if he tagged and went, but I don’t know. I haven’t looked at it. But Bobby said that from his perspective they felt like the ball had a chance to be fair, even though it ended up five or six feet foul. But every ball that stays in the air very long, you expect Betts to catch. But it’s a situation we’d like to score a run there. We should.”
On lost scoring opportunities: “I thought about the seventh inning the strike zone got away from the umpire (Hunter Wendelstedt), too. It really effected I thought a lot of things. Some comments he made, I’ll follow up with the League office. That didn’t necessarily beat us, but it certainly made it a lot tougher later on.
“When you’re having a tough year like we are, unfortunately, some of those things work out that way. But we had some opportunities with some people on base that we didn’t cash in on. Second and third, in a perfect world you’d like to score both those runs and Cedric executed it perfectly.”
Trey Mancini on his hot streak: “I’ve been feeling really good since the break. I didn’t really have like an epiphany or anything. The last thing Manny (Machado) told me before he left was, ‘Keep working hard, keep appreciating the game and give it your all and loving it and eventually it’ll start loving you back.’”
“I did work with Brady (Anderson, Cooly (Scott Coolbaugh) and Howie (Clark) a lot on staying on my back side, so if there was one change, it was that. But besides that, my luck just started to turn. Sometimes when you have confidence balls just start to fall in and when you don’t they find the glove. It’s funny how it works, but yeah, just trying to stay calm out there.”