BOSTON - The Orioles saw some improvements tonight in Aaron Brooks, who still carried the welts from a beating administered by the Astros in his last start. The healing process after a 23-2 thrashing, with four home runs hit against him in three innings, won’t happen overnight or in a couple of days.
Brooks made it into the sixth inning tonight, an opportunity for a more positive outing compromised in the fourth. The Red Sox broke a tie and pulled away while handing the Orioles their 10th loss in 11 games with a 9-1 victory at Fenway Park.
The Red Sox collected a double and two triples in the fourth and the Orioles couldn’t recover, their record now 39-83 overall and 0-5 on the road trip after being swept in the Bronx.
Andrew Benintendi and Mitch Moreland had run-scoring triples in the fourth, the second time this season that the Orioles surrendered a pair of three-baggers in a game. The Diamondbacks’ Eduardo Escobar had two against Brooks on July 22.
J.D. Martinez doubled with one out on a ball that third baseman Rio Ruiz failed to backhand. Benintendi followed with his triple to right-center field to give the Red Sox a 2-1 lead.
Moreland was credited with a triple on a ball that right fielder DJ Stewart chased near the line, a long run based on where he was positioned and the ballpark’s configuration. He reached out and it almost hit his wrist instead of glove.
Brooks had retired eight of nine before Martinez’s double. He was aided by two double plays within the first three innings.
Rick Porcello managed to throw only six pitches in the first inning despite facing four batters and giving up a leadoff single to Villar. Brooks threw 17 pitches to the first three batters, didn’t record an out and fell behind 1-0.
Martinez grounded into a 6-4-3 double play on the next pitch, with the ball leaving the bat at 106.3 mph per Statcast, and Benintendi grounded back to the mound on Brooks’ 20th offering.
Mookie Betts’ leadoff double, Devers’ single and a walk to Xander Bogaerts hinted at major damage off Brooks, but only one runner crossed the plate.
The Orioles tied the game in the third on Villar’s two-out single, his second hit of the night, and Mancini’s double into the right field corner. Villar dived across the plate ahead of the tag.
Carrying one fewer reliever tonight was a bit of a gamble, even with the off-day, but Brooks provided some length. He hadn’t gone more than five innings since April 11 at Camden Yards while pitching for the Athletics.
Brooks worked 5 1/3 tonight, with the final out coming on Christian Vázquez’s sacrifice bunt after Martinez was hit by a pitch near the left elbow and Benintendi singled.
Sam Travis pinch-hit for Moreland with Richard Bleier on the mound and manager Brandon Hyde ordered the intentional walk with the count 3-0. Pinch-hitter Chris Owings followed with a double, two more runs charged to Brooks, and Jackie Bradley Jr.’s sacrifice fly gave the Red Sox a 6-1 lead.
Brooks was tagged for five runs and eight hits. He’s surrendered five earned runs or more in four of his last five starts.
Tom Eshelman started the seventh inning and the Red Sox padded their lead after a leadoff walk to Devers and Bogaerts’ double. Martinez lined to deep right field to score Devers, and Benintendi doubled to left for Boston’s eighth extra-base hit.
The ninth was Betts’ solo home run off Eshelman with two outs in the eighth inning.
The Orioles have allowed at least eight runs in eight of their last 11 games.
Chance Sisco singled twice for his first multi-hit game since July 17.
Down on the farm, Dean Kremer’s debut with Triple-A Norfolk was postponed due to rain. The Tides will play a doubleheader on Saturday.
Update: Eshelman was optioned to Norfolk after the game.
The Orioles were held to one run or fewer for the 19th time this season. They were held to five hits or fewer for the 24th time and are 0-24 in those games.
Hyde on whether Brooks has better outing if plays made in fourth: “Yeah. A couple plays that were tough plays that I’ve seen us make, but it just didn’t happen tonight and obviously, it hurt Brooksie a little bit. But I thought he threw the ball well. The first inning, that double play ball with J.D., that was big. I thought he threw the ball pretty well tonight, we just didn’t help him out.”
Hyde on Mancini hitting well in Boston: “Like I’ve said all year, when he’s hitting the ball hard the other way is when good things happen. He lined that ball down the right field corner. Trey’s been, obviously, a huge run-producer all year and he’s having an All-Star type of year. He hits the ball really hard. When he goes the other way he’s one of our better hitters.”
Hyde on needing better starts to get out of funk: “Yeah, you can’t win when you’re down 6-1 in the seventh. We’ve just got to have our guys pitch a little bit better to give us a chance.”
Hyde on Porcello: “I thought Porcello was good. Thought he was elevating on us a lot more, throwing up in the zone a little bit more than he has in the past. That’s why you saw a ton of popups and some weak contact. We weren’t barreling balls on him. I thought he did a nice job. I know he’s been struggling as of late, but I thought he pitched well tonight.”
Hyde on whether shorter bullpen influenced his decisions: “It didn’t affect. (Brooks) was throwing the ball good into the sixth inning. He was at 80-something pitches and gave up a couple singles, he got a sac bunt and I got the bullpen in and gave up a double.”
Mancini on tough stretch again: “It’s really tough. You could’ve looked at our schedule at the beginning of the year and probably argue that this would be the toughest part, but that’s just how the cookie crumbles and nobody feels sorry for us. We don’t feel sorry for ourselves. Obviously, we haven’t been playing too well and haven’t really been playing in a lot of these games, unfortunately. We’ve clawed back in some, but tonight Porcello did a really good job of keeping our bats quiet.”
Mancini on why he hits well in Boston: “I’m not so sure. I’ve always loved playing here and it’s a great atmosphere. A lot of times I think when I’m going well my approach is right-center field, and it’s really spacious here, so I never try to think too much and try to do too much at the plate here. I just kind of want to spray the ball around and hit it where it’s pitched, and that’s the best explanation I have.”
Brooks on improvements over last start: “Yeah, I think overall. I kept us in the game longer, obviously, than the last overall outing. I challenged hitters a lot better and made pitches when I needed to. The results will come in whatever way they’re going to come. But physically, I felt a lot better.”
Brooks on how team is handling 10 losses last 11 games: “We’re just grinding. I think everyone’s coming in each day with a clean slate trying to do better than the day before, and frankly, we haven’t been doing that well, but I think if we come daily with the mentality of trying to get a win, we’ll get there.”