The Boston Red Sox asked Jonathan Papelbon, a pitcher that had converted a career-best 25 straight save chances since May 13, to try and get a five-out save on Tuesday night against the Orioles.
He couldn’t do it.
With Boston leading 5-4, Papelbon came in with two on and one out in the top of the eighth. He fanned Chris Davis for the second out, but Nolan Reimold’s single to left loaded the bases.
Robert Andino came up and the count went full. Andino then ripped a three-run double down the right-field line to unload the bases and give the Orioles a 7-5 lead.
Pedro Strop and Jim Johnson made it stand up over the last two innings as the Orioles posted the 7-5 victory and have taken two of the first three games in this series.
Papelbon had pitched 22 straight scoreless innings, the longest current streak in the majors and was 30-for-31 in save chances on the season until this blown save tonight. He entered this outing with a career 1.50 ERA and 31 saves in 32 chances against the Orioles.
Andino went 3-for-5 on the night. Over his last 17 games, he is now batting .344 (22-for-64) with 11 RBIs. He is 5-for-12 with a homer and five RBIs in this series. This was his biggest RBI night since he drove in four on July 17 against Cleveland.
With their sixth win in eight games and ninth over the last 14 games, the Orioles also improved to 17-13 since Aug. 22.
If they win Wednesday at Boston, they will have won three consecutive series for the first time all year. The Orioles have scored 44 runs over their last seven games.
Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds returned to the Orioles lineup on Tuesday night. Jones, making his first start since September 9, went 3-for-4 with a walk. Reynolds, starting for the first time since getting hit by a pitch in the batting helmet on Saturday, went 2-for-5 with a third-inning, two-run single.
Neither starter made it into the fourth inning. Rick VandenHurk, pitched for the first time in 10 days, gave up seven hits and five runs (four earned) over three innings. In his two starts this month, he has pitched a combined 5 1/3 giving up 10 hits and eight runs.
Former Oriole Erik Bedard had a shorter outing than VandenHurk. He gave up five hits and four runs (one earned) in just 2 2/3 innings, throwing 76 pitches.
Boston lost for the 13th time in the last 17 games and falls to 5-15 in September and 88-67 overall. The Red Sox began the night with a two-game lead in the wild card race on Tampa Bay, which lost 5-0 to the Yankees.