Orioles manager Brandon Hyde can keep talking about the bad at-bats and tough luck that run through his lineups, or he can just lean on the dugout railing and make mental notes as examples play out in front of him.
There isn’t much that Hyde can do to silence the effects of a screaming line drive today from Maikel Franco in the second inning that produced a double play and another layer of frustration. Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers making a backhanded grab - the glove somehow staying attached to his hand - and throw across the infield to nab a retreating DJ Stewart.
Franco hopped up the line as the play unfolded, as if in disbelief. An inning later, Franchy Cordero reached on an infield hit and Kiké Hernández sent a bouncer toward third that sneaked into left field, with his reaction almost as animated. Arms spread apart with the bat still in his right hand, the only missing element the sound of airplane noises.
Alex Verdugo followed with a three-run homer and J.D. Martinez, back in the lineup and on the Orioles’ last nerve, deposited a knuckle-curve on the flag court. Good luck and really good hitting from the opposing side.
The Orioles never recovered from it. They hit a pair of three-run homers, but were unable to prevent a sweep in their first home series of the year with a 14-9 loss before an announced crowd of 8,171.
Martinez homered off three different pitchers - his third career game with at least three homers. He cleared the center field fence against Rule 5 selection Tyler Wells in the eighth after the Orioles cut the lead to 10-7 and Devers hit his second of the day, a two-run shot, after Shawn Armstrong entered.
The Red Sox walloped six. There’s luck and then abuse of an opponents’ pitching staff.
“We just had a tough time out of the ‘pen getting guys out,” Hyde said. “Proud of our offense, the way we kept scratching back.”
It got so bad that Rio Ruiz and Ramón Urías were charged with errors on the same play in the eighth, the former mishandling Cordero’s grounder to load the bases and the latter bobbling the ball and inexplicably throwing home and missing the target by a wide distance for a 14-7 lead.
Ryan McKenna pinch-hit for Anthony Santander leading off the bottom of the sixth and tripled to center field off Nick Pivetta. He came home on Franco’s three-run homer, a 111.2 mph liner to left field that wasn’t going to find a glove.
Trey Mancini followed back-to- back walks issued by reliever Austin Brice with a liner to right field that landed above the grounds crew shed and reduced the lead to 10-7. His second homer in less than 24 hours. The first time he’s gone deep in consecutive games since Sept. 16-17, 2019.
McKenna is the fifth Orioles player since 1974 whose first major league hit was a triple, according to STATS. He joins Manny Machado on Aug. 9, 2012, Blake Davis on June 24, 2011, Matt Wieters on May 30, 2009 and César Devarez on Aug. 18, 1996.
McKenna’s first professional hit also was a triple.
“I was thinking the other day that would be pretty cool if that happened,” he said.
Jorge López was charged with seven runs and eight hits in four-plus innings, three straight singles to open the fifth sending him to the dugout. Martinez struck the final blow, of course, and Rule 5 pick Mac Sceroler surrendered a three-run shot to Devers after fanning Xander Bogaerts.
The Red Sox batted around and Sceroler hit Hernández with the bases loaded for a 9-1 lead. Martinez homered again to lead off the sixth. He must have a timeshare with Gleyber Torres and Randal Grichuk.
Devers homered in each game of the series, tying the longest streak of his career. Sceroler didn’t allow a run or hit in his major league debut that lasted 2 2/3 innings.
The Orioles (4-5) are below .500 for the first time and trying hard to manufacture runs, including a curious decision by Santander to lay down a bunt on a 3-1 pitch in the first inning with Mancini on first base and one out. It was ruled a sacrifice and followed by Ryan Mountcastle’s strikeout.
Better to just play for the three-run blow.
López stranded two runners in the top half after hitting Verdugo and giving up a single to Bogaerts. He had two strikeouts in the inning, on a changeup and 95 mph sinker, and he retired the side in order in the second with Bobby Dalbec striking out on the same pitch.
Going through the order a second and third time was troublesome.
The Orioles actually caught a break while loading the bases against Pivetta with one out in the third. Mancini reached on Dalbec’s error after singles by Freddy Galvis and Cedric Mullins, the latter extending his hitting streak to 13 games dating back to last September. But Santander fouled off seven of eight pitches and struck out looking, and Galvis was tagged at the plate while trying to score on a ball that got past catcher Christian Vázquez.
Galvis was shaken up but able to stay in the game. The Orioles tried to do the same, but failing to score after loading the bases was counterproductive.
Galvis’ leg may have touched the plate before the tag. Pivetta may have been blocking it. The Orioles just wanted one call to favor them. One pivotal moment that lifted their spirits and reduced the margin.
Mullins led off the ninth with a double and scored on Mancini’s grounder. HIs average is .459. And McKenna singled and later scored on a wild pitch as Stewart drew his second walk.
Mountcastle opened the fourth with a double and scored with one out on Franco’s single. Ruiz grounded into a double play, and the Red Sox got the run back on singles by Hernández, Verdugo and Martinez.
Devers seemed to put the game out of reach in the middle innings, but the Orioles hadn’t run out of fight.
Eventually, they ran out of momentum. And ideas about what to do with Martinez and Devers.
Hyde replaced Galvis and Santander with the score turning lopsided.
“We’ll see how Freddy is tomorrow,” Hyde said. “That was quite a collision for him. Took a little blow to his knee and ankle, etc. And in a nine-run game I wanted to get Santander off the field.”