Orioles surrender 22 hits and use Peterson to pitch in 19-3 loss

BOSTON - The opener of today’s doubleheader became an elimination game for the Orioles.

Candidates to start the nightcap were narrowed like a two-lane road winding through a construction zone.

Ryan Meisinger faced only six batters in his first major league start, retiring one, and the wheels were in motion. Donnie Hart came in and let three inherited runners score. John Means entered in the third for his major league debut and Cody Carroll replaced him in the sixth and surrendered three home runs.

Utility player Jace Peterson wasn’t a candidate to start, but he pitched in relief in the eighth and allowed Rafael Devers’ second home run and sixth RBI of the day. The Red Sox scored four times off him with two outs.

The Orioles were reached for a season-high 22 hits and posted their 112th loss of the season, 19-3, at Fenway Park and will reveal their next starter before first pitch at 7:10 p.m.

Means became the 15th player to make his major league debut, breaking the club record of 14 set in 1955, and the 56th used this season, to extend the record by two. He retired the first five batters before Mookie Betts doubled in the fourth, Andrew Benintendi reached on an infield hit and J.D. Martinez hit a three-run homer over the Green Monster for an 8-3 lead.

Ian Kinsler had an RBI double off Means in the fifth and scored on Rafael Devers’ single. Means was charged with five runs and six hits in 3 1/3 innings, with no walks and four strikeouts.

Meisinger-Yanked-Gray-sidebar.jpgMeisinger threw 21 pitches while allowing four hits and walking a batter. He exited with the bases loaded and the Orioles down 2-0 on Xander Bogaerts’ two-run double, and Devers cleared them with a double.

The Orioles have been outscored 126-69 in the first inning this season.

Peterson was far more entertaining. He’s been pushing to pitch and backed up his claims that his fastball could crack 90 mph and that he also owned a breaking ball. He topped out at 93 mph and also threw a curveball, getting a double play from Kinsler, and a changeup. But Devers homered with two outs, Blake Swihart reached on an infield hit when Peterson forget to cover first base and Sandy Leon doubled.

Tzu-Wei Lin doubled to score two runs and he came home on Benintendi’s single. Peterson struck out Cristian Vázquez to end the inning.

Nine different Boston players had doubles.

Manager Buck Showalter wanted to ease Means into his first game and did it today while trying to piece together a pitching staff. Means offered a 90-91 mph fastball, a slider that netted his first two strikeouts and a low-80s changeup that struck out Bogaerts to end the fourth.

Means apparently has a tendency to fall off the mound toward third base while completing his delivery, and it caused a late arrival to the bag on Benintendi’s grounder to Trey Mancini. Martinez followed with his 42nd homer of the season.

Back-to-back doubles by Mitch Moreland and Kinsler to open the fifth and Devers’ single increased the lead to 10-3. The Orioles have allowed at least 10 runs in 21 games this season.

Bogaerts hit his career-high 22nd home run in the sixth, a two-run shot off Carroll for a 12-3 lead. Devers and Swihart homered back-to-back off Carroll in the seventh for a 14-3 lead. There would be no comeback.

Left-hander David Price threw 39 pitches in the top of the second while allowing a solo home run to Mancini and two-run shot to Renato Núñez. The Orioles sent nine batters to the plate, just as the Red Sox did in the bottom of the first, but couldn’t push across another run after loading the bases with one out.

Manny Machado no longer has sole possession of the home run lead with the Orioles. Mancini pulled into a tie with his 24th.

Núñez has13 doubles and eight home runs in 68 games with the Orioles while getting the bulk of the innings at third base.

Asked earlier in the day what’s stood out the most to him about Núñez, Showalter replied, “His improvement.”

“I’m careful of stuff about, this guy is some reflection on somewhere else, but he’s really gotten engaged in the defensive side of the ball,” Showalter said.

“He’s always had some life in his bat, and still a young man. What you’re trying to do this year is get him as good as he can be, and he get himself as good as he can be and that helps with the evaluation part of it, is not only the skills but the aptitude and the willingness to get better.”

Showalter said the club already has a seen the full spectrum of Núñez’s abilities at the plate.

“Oh yeah,” he said. “We knew that about a week into it. It’s not that hard to see.”

The Orioles almost got within 5-4 in the third on Joey Rickard’s two-out double off the Green Monster, but Tim Beckham was an easy out at the plate.

The Game 1 lineup didn’t include Chris Davis, and he might sit again with left-hander Chris Sale starting the nightcap.

“We’ll see how the first game goes, see how we are,” Showalter said. “I’m not going to handicap that right now. Handicap it when the second lineup goes up.”

Asked whether Davis will play again this week, Showalter replied, “Yes. What do you define as playing? Yeah, Chris will play again. Yes.”

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