Yacabonis worked into the fourth inning in the nightcap, leaving with runners on the corners and one out in a tie game.
Manager Buck Showalter would have to mobilize his relievers again while still keeping an eye on the next two games with rookie starters. So much juggling going on, so many balls in the air, so many reasons for players to wonder how an expanded roster doesn’t have the same pliancy for the Orioles.
Attempts to win are measured with the basic desire to survive. Showalter fretted over the possibility that he’d run out of arms, that he’d be forced to use another position player on the mound. And he’s somehow supposed to evaluate the younger talent under extreme and unusual circumstances.
Tanner Scott stranded the two runners he inherited in the fourth, gave up the tying run in the fifth and retired the side in order in the sixth. Trey Mancini lined a two-run single up the middle in the seventh to break another tie, Paul Fry handled the last three innings and the Orioles pulled away for a 10-3 victory over the Red Sox at Fenway Park to gain a split.
The road portion of the 2018 schedule has ended with the Orioles going 19-62, including 2-4 on the last trip. They’re 46-112 with four home games remaining against the Astros. Their last five wins have come in the final game of a series.
The Orioles went 3-16 against the Red Sox, the 16 losses tying the club record in 1956 and 2009.
A four-run ninth enabled closer Mychal Givens to sit down and Fry to handle the rest. Craig Kimbrel walked three batters, hit one, threw a wild pitch and was charged with four runs. John Andreoli had a two-run double off Robby Scott and Steve Wilkerson followed with an RBI single.
Joseph led off the seventh with a double off Matt Barnes and advanced on a wild pitch, Jonathan Villar walked and stole second base and Mancini moved the Orioles in front 5-3. Mancini also had an RBI triple in the first inning after homering in Game 1.
Renato Núñez followed with a run-scoring single on a chopper over first base and Showalter replaced Scott with Fry, who retired all nine batters he faced with one ball out of the infield.
Villar manufactured a run off Kimbrel in the ninth with a walk and stolen base and by advancing on a fly ball and wild pitch. The Orioles sent nine batters to the plate.
Yacabonis navigated through a 35-pitch first inning but allowed only an unearned run after Villar’s fielding error with the bases loaded and two outs. Brandon Phillips’ grounder scooted past Núñez, Villar backed him up and fumbled the ball.
The inning began with back-to-back singles by Jackie Bradley Jr. and Brock Holt, and Devers walked with one out. Swihart struck out looking at a pitch that appeared to be inside, but Phillips reached.
The Orioles have been outscored 127-71 in the first inning this season, taking a 2-0 lead in the top half tonight on Mancini’s RBI triple and Núñez’s sacrifice fly.
Yacabonis came back with an 11-pitch second inning, retiring the side in order and allowing Showalter to exhale. But just a little. He threw 20 pitches in the third while stranding the two batters he walked, but was done in the fourth after Tzu-Wei Lin’s RBI triple and Bradley’s walk. Yacabonis threw 82 pitches in 3 1/3 innings, only 46 for strikes.
Joseph led off the fifth with a single, Mancini walked with two outs and Jones doubled to left field. Jones reached base four times tonight.
The game was tied again, it was untied and the Orioles didn’t come unraveled while piecing together nine more innings from their pitching staff.
Update: Miguel Castro remains unavailable due to some swelling in his right knee and he’ll undergo tests in Baltimore. He might not pitch in the final series.
“I haven’t been able to use him for three days,” Showalter said. “Probably, if he doesn’t get any better, we won’t pitch him anymore. His knee’s been bothering him. We’ll get it looked at when we get back.
“He’s got a little swelling. They don’t think it’s anything. They didn’t like some of the ... He could have pitched. He said he would pitch. I didn’t like some of the feedback I was getting back from him and Ramón (Alarcón, Orioles Spanish translator). I don’t think it’s worth the risk.”
Showalter on using only three pitchers: “We had the three guys we used and Mike Givens tonight, and that was it. I had Mike Wright if I had to, but I was trying to keep away from him to have a backup for (David) Hess tomorrow. We need a backup for (Yefry) Ramírez the next day. I’m hoping to get (Sean) Gilmartin back. So, it was big. It was big.
“I know Yac would like to have the four walks back, but you see the stuff. He didn’t implode. I thought Tanner, little by little, Tanner’s really presented himself better here in the last month. It’s good to see. Young pitchers have to learn how to pitch in September, and hopefully October down the road. It’s part of the gig.
“Actually, it’s a great time for them. I know Dylan (Bundy) and I talked about it last year and this year, about what big thing it was for him to pitch in September and understand in the offseason what you’re getting ready for.”
Showalter on the resiliency after the first game: “It’s tough. It was an ugly game. I just wish we had scored nine more runs and beat them 19-3. It’s a crazy game. It’s a great club over there and come out and score a couple runs.
“Adam had a big day. For a guy who doesn’t like DHing, he was pretty good tonight. I was kidding him, ‘You’re showcasing all the different things you can do - left field, right field, DH, run.’ It was a good win. That’s satisfying to see, especially, the young players respond like that.
“Cedric (Mullins), here’s an example of a guy that’s struggled with the bat but really impacted, I thought, both games defensively, especially this one.”
Showalter on Yacabonis this month: “It verifies what we thought. He’s got a good arm, a great pitcher’s body, great hands. He has a real durable back, the things scouts look for. We decided to go down the road, take a look at him as a starter. He’s gotten better a starter.
“I know the numbers up here may not show it. He’s gotten a lot more in touch with his delivery and corrects himself a lot more than he did. The four walks were a challenge for him. It’s a little different feel for him when he’s in the game.”
Showalter on Mancini: “Trey’s one of those guys, he’s 0-for-2, has a couple bad at-bats, you look up and he’s got three hits. But you know, when guys have the type of background ... Nowadays, guys hit .260 and they move up quickly because there’s such a need in the major leagues.
“He’s one of those rare guys that’s done it at every level, and one of the things you get from that when you have a little tough spell, you know what you’re capable of. And he’s always on. You know what you’re going to get from him every game. He’s a real trustworthy guy.”
Mancini on winning Game 2: “It felt good. Obviously, we took a beating there in Game 1, a long game, but I’m really proud of the way we came back and fought in the second game and played as a team. It was kind of more reminiscent of the New York series a little bit. I thought we did really well playing as a team there, and especially the young guys going into the environments. I think this is very, very good for them. And they played really well during it, too, which is very encouraging. They looked the part, for sure.”
Mancini on what can be accomplished now: “You want to go out and win. There’s a pride factor and a professionalism that goes into it. You don’t lay down any game, no matter who you’re playing. You want to go out and put your best foot forward and try to win. We’re going to do that the last four games.”
Mancini on Yacabonis: “It’s awesome. He’s one of my best friends. We got drafted together and played in Aberdeen and Delmarva and Frederick together. It’s great to see, and he looks really good.
“It’s just funny seeing him as a starter, still, because I came up with him and he was always our closer every year. He’s done a great job with that. From spring training, he embraced it and worked hard to stretch himself out, get his pitch count up, and he looks really good out there. It’s really fun to play with him.”
Yacabonis on getting late September start: “I’ve, honestly, felt pretty good. It was important for me, but I felt like I kind of felt my stamina through the whole game. I had a couple long at-bats there early in the game that kind of got me out of the game early, but I thought I battled pretty well.”