The Orioles formed a row along the third base line tonight while waiting for the playing of the national anthem. One of baseball’s long-standing traditions that brought each of them to one knee.
They clutched the long black ribbon that’s been unfurled in ballparks as a symbol of the racial reckoning that’s happening in the United States.
Rising to their feet, the Orioles moved closer together and linked arms as another gesture of unity and equality that didn’t require or demand social distancing.
They were allowed to bend the rules for a brief instant.
Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi fired a 100 mph fastball with his first pitch to Orioles leadoff hitter Austin Hays and the long-awaited opener was underway.
The Orioles broke down after a couple of innings.
Tommy Milone’s first career opening day start unraveled in the third, as the Red Sox used four doubles to build a four-run lead, and they blew open the game in the fourth by scoring six runs and coasting to a 13-2 victory over the Orioles at Fenway Park.
The 13 runs are the most allowed by the Orioles in an opener.
Milone was done after throwing 57 pitches in three innings. He allowed four runs and four hits with three walks, five strikeouts and a wild pitch.
Appearing in the majors for the first time since 2018, Cody Carroll faced four batters in the fourth inning and retired none - issuing two walks, giving up a single and walking Andrew Benintendi to force in a run.
Travis Lakins Sr. let all three inherited runners score on J.D. Martinez’s two-run double and Xander Bogaerts’ RBI single. Lakins was charged with two runs of his own and the Red Sox sent 11 batters to the plate and built a 10-0 lead.
It’s going to be a long shortened season if pitchers keep leaving the ball middle-middle or outside the strike zone.
The Orioles hadn’t played a regular season game since Sept. 29, 2019 at Fenway Park. They were put on hold for 298 consecutive days.
A long time to marinate in a walk-off loss.
Hanser Alberto collected the first Orioles hit of 2020 with a two-out, seeing-eye single in the second inning. Pure Alberto.
Rio Ruiz hit the first home run, but his 390-foot solo shot off Austin Brice in the seventh barely made a dent. The Orioles reduced the lead to 13-2.
Jackie Bradley Jr. had the first hit off Milone with a leadoff double in the third and he scored on José Peraza’s double. Milone already had walked two batters, struck out three and picked off one.
Martinez, who was 6-for-18 lifetime against Milone before tonight, also doubled for a 2-0 lead, and Milone issued his third walk and threw a wild pitch.
Milone raised his strikeout total to five, but Kevin Pillar collected the fourth double of the inning to score two more runs and give the Red Sox a 4-0 lead as Carroll warmed in the bullpen.
Santander slipped after rounding first base and he was removed from the game in the bottom half of the inning.
Hays was drilled in the left rib cage in the eighth and Cedric Mullins replaced him in center field. Manager Brandon Hyde was clearing his bench.
Alberto was nailed in the left thigh in the ninth.
David Hess allowed three runs and four hits in the sixth, but he blanked the Red Sox over the next two innings. They loaded the bases in the eighth.
Milone was the first Oriole to wear No. 69. It was the lowest number besides 0 never worn by a player or coach. The new low is 73.
The Orioles will try again for win No. 1 on Saturday afternoon.
Update: Hyde said Santander is fine. No one came out of the game due to injury. He mentioned the quick turnaround on Saturday as one reason why he kept going to his bench.
“I just got (Santander) out of the game because it was pretty much out of hand at that point,” Hyde said. “I don’t have him built up. He hasn’t even played nine innings yet, so it was a good opportunity to get (Dwight) Smith some game action, give him a few innings out on defense and start working him back in there also.”
Milone explained his struggles in the third inning.
“I was just leaving some balls over the middle of the plate,” he said. “Some changeups there that I thought were decent pitches, but primarily my changeup’s best when it’s down and away to righties, and it was kind of leaking more middle, so they were able to get the barrel on it. Just missing some pitches and they capitalized on it. Good hitters up and down their lineup, so when you make mistakes consistently, they’re going to capitalize on it. That’s what they did.”
Said Hyde: “I just thought he missed in the middle. I thought he had a couple open-base opportunities to navigate around the right-handers a little bit and he fell behind and just missed his spots. The 3-1 pitch to Martinez and some other times. They had four doubles in the same spot. I thought he had good stuff the first two innings. He had a good changeup. I thought he got squeezed a hair, and then in that third inning he was one or two pitches away from limiting damage and just didn’t happen.”
The Orioles will try to bounce back quickly and take the field Saturday for a 1:35 p.m. first pitch.
“It’s a tough one to swallow, man,” Ruiz said. “All you can do is turn the page and get ready for tomorrow.”
Said Hyde: “I’d like to flush this one. To me that’s a good spot for Cody Carroll right there. Bottom part of the order, majority right-handed. He just had a tough time throwing strikes. He relies on a 98 mph elevated fastball, and unfortunately it was just above the zone a lot and missing.
“David Hess really picked us up, to be honest with you. Three innings, not having to use somebody else. But I believe in Cody Carroll’s stuff. I’m sure there were some nerves as well. Lakins also pitching against his former team, first opening day. Cody hadn’t been in the big leagues in over a year, so thought it was a good spot in the bottom part of the order, us down by four, have him start the inning in kind of a low-pressure situation, and it just didn’t work out. But I do believe in his arm.”
Asked about what the Orioles did before and during the anthem, Ruiz said, “Everybody agreed that we were going to do what we did. It was an easy decision for everybody and everybody was on board. I was really happy to be able to support all my teammates, whoever it was.”