BOSTON – Spenser Watkins saved the Orioles bullpen last night by covering 4 1/3 innings after the rain delay. Manager Brandon Hyde could avoid using some relievers for a third consecutive game. A worry he carried into the clubhouse after play was halted.
But what would he do tonight with his starter unable to get out of the third and his long relief options nonexistent?
Let his offense keep mashing. Remember that no lead is safe at Fenway Park. And no pitcher is safe with Anthony Santander standing at the plate.
It didn’t work, but that’s all he had.
Santander hit multiple homers for the third time in four games, his two-run shot in the fourth evening the score. But the Red Sox kept circling the bases, whether through their own effort or with a push from the Orioles, who lost 13-9 to further damage their wild card hopes.
Hyde used six relievers, and the Orioles will need to make at least one move before Wednesday’s game. Beau Sulser is on the taxi squad. Mike Baumann is starting Thursday and could be challenged to provide length.
Ramón Urías came within a double of the cycle, but he left the game in the fifth inning with right knee discomfort after sliding into third base on Austin Hays' ground ball and needing assistance getting down the dugout steps. He was limping earlier after being tagged out at the plate in the second.
Urías had just returned to the lineup after sitting out the last two games with spasms between his neck and right shoulder. The Orioles will discuss whether to bring up an infielder.
"Somewhere around the bag at second base, running to third base, something happened to the back of his knee," Hyde said. "We're going to get him checked out tomorrow."
Jorge Mateo replaced Urías, and he doubled and scored in the seventh on Rougned Odor’s single. Combined cycles don’t count.
Hays batted against Matt Barnes in the ninth with the bases loaded and one out, and he grounded into a 6-3 double play.
Orioles pitching walked two batters and hit two with the bases loaded through three-plus innings. Odor committed two errors, including a bounced throw in the fourth while trying to turn a double play that increased the lead to 13-8.
Joey Krehbiel let three runners score after inheriting a bases-loaded mess from Kyle Bradish in the third, and he also was charged with two runs in two-thirds of an inning. Jake Reed didn’t retire a batter and was charged with three earned runs and four total. He hit Tommy Pham with the bases loaded.
DL Hall tossed two scoreless innings with no walks and three strikeouts, but three inherited runners scored under his watch. Bryan Baker made it through the sixth unscathed and hasn’t allowed a run in his last eight appearances. Cionel Pérez put the first two runners on base in the seventh and escaped. Dillon Tate hit a batter in the eighth and got a double play.
A position player couldn’t pitch because the margin was under six runs.
"Obviously, the last three guys I didn't want to throw," Hyde said.
Bradish lasted only 2 1/3 innings and threw 85 pitches, a steep drop from his 8 2/3 scoreless innings last week against the Astros, which required 100 pitches. He was charged with seven runs.
"I didn't throw a lot of strikes, was behind everybody," Bradish said. "Couldn't command anything."
"He just didn't have the command he's had in the second half tonight," Hyde said. "A lot of deep counts, a lot of foul balls, a lot of misses up. And some borderline pitches didn't go his way, either. Just didn't have the normal command that he's had his last handful of starts."
The Red Sox had only two hits in a six-run third, when 11 batters came to the plate. They drew five walks – one intentional to Rafael Devers to load the bases, followed by an unintentional one to Xander Bogaerts while Bradish sat in the dugout. Bradish hit Rob Refsnyder with the bases loaded and walked Connor Wong.
Nine more batters came to the plate in a five-run fourth.
Santander tied the major league record by homering from both sides of the plate four times in a season. San Diego’s Ken Caminiti did it in 1996.
"Every ball he's hitting I feel like it's on the screws right now," Hyde said.
The Orioles (80-74) hit four home runs to give them nine in the series, and they had three triples by the fourth to go with the two they collected last night. The home run and triple combo tonight is a franchise record.
The bats were humming again, but they fell to 80-74 with eight games left.
Adley Rutschman and Santander homered in the third inning off right-hander Michael Wacha for a 3-2 lead, the 11th time this season that the Orioles went back-to-back.
Urías led off the fourth inning with his 16th homer after the Red Sox took an 8-3 lead. Wacha had surrendered two home runs in 27 innings this month before the third. The three homers tonight were a season high, and his 3 1/3 innings were the fewest.
"His last three or four times against us he had pitched really well," Santander said. "We told ourselves, try to get in front in counts, not fall behind on two-strike counts. Go out there and attack him. Make him pitch to us and go out there and be aggressive when we go up and face him."
The Orioles scored five runs in the fourth after Boston’s six-run third. Hays had an RBI triple, he came home on Cedric Mullins’ single off left-hander Matt Strahm, and Santander tied the game with a two-run shot, giving him 33 homers on the season and six in four days.
Santander just missed another homer in the first inning, settling for a long double off the wall in center field, and he scored on Ryan Mountcastle’s triple to right.
Mountcastle’s other career triple came in Game 1 of a May 9, 2021 doubleheader in Chicago.
The Orioles are 1-9 when Santander hits multiple home runs.
Bradish fell behind 2-1 in the second on Triston Casas’ two-run homer to left-center field, the ball landing in the seats above the Green Monster at an estimated distance of 421 feet with a 110.5 mph exit velocity.
Casas, a first-round draft pick in 2018, has five home runs this month in 20 major league games.
The Orioles missed a chance to move further ahead in the second inning after Urías’ leadoff triple to center field, the first of his career. He held on Odor’s bouncer to second base and broke on contact as Hays’ grounded to Devers, who threw home for the easy out.
Urías came up limping, which isn’t how the Orioles want to approach the finish line.
"We know time's running out, but there's still time to do what we need to do," Santander said. "We're going to come in tomorrow and work hard and try to get a win."
The Mariners were still playing, down by two runs to the Rangers in the sixth inning, as more Orioles filed out of the clubhouse. They were four games out for the last wild card while waiting for the result.
"There's still a possibility," Bradish said. "I don't know what the Mariners did, but they haven't been playing great baseball and we've still got eight games left. So, yeah, still a possibility."
Note: Triple-A Norfolk’s Drew Rom allowed three earned runs and four total in six innings against Jacksonville, with seven hits, five walks and five strikeouts.
Joey Ortiz had two hits in a 6-2 loss at Harbor Park.