John Means did the heavy lifting. Harvey was just following a tough act and trying to keep up.
The Red Sox elevated Harvey’s pitch count early, plated four unearned runs in the fourth inning and kept the Orioles below .500 with a 6-2 win before an announced crowd of 7,724 at damp and cold Camden Yards.
Ryan Mountcastle led off the sixth inning with a home run, driving a full-count 99 mph fastball from Hirokazu Sawamura over the center field fence, but the Orioles fell to 15-17 overall and 4-11 in Baltimore. Mountcastle’s other homer came in the April 8 home opener against the Red Sox.
Trey Mancini had a run-scoring single off former Orioles minor leaguer Eduardo Rodriguez in the fifth to cut into the lead. Cedric Mullins doubled to make him 19-for-49 (.388) against left-handers and Austin Hays walked before Mancini produced his ninth RBI this month.
Harvey was charged with a two-base error in the fourth while covering first base and failing to get a glove on Pat Valaika’s fastball feed. Rafael Devers stole third base and Hunter Renfroe singled with two outs for a 1-0 lead.
Franchy Cordero walked and Bobby Dalbec, hitless in 27 at-bats, belted a three-run homer to left field.
“I just really didn’t have it tonight,” Harvey said on his Zoom call. “Kind of just was all over the place, really just physically didn’t feel that great and wasn’t able to get it done.
“I wasn’t able to limit the damage when I needed to that inning and it just wasn’t a good start. Didn’t feel good mechanically, didn’t feel good physically, didn’t feel I was that strong out there. It was a rough day. Chalk it up and move on and get ready for my next one.”
Rule 5 pick Tyler Wells entered the game in the fifth after Harvey threw 86 pitches and lowered his ERA from 4.06 to 3.60. Making his third appearance since April 11, Wells retired four of five batters and Cole Sulser stranded an inherited runner by striking out Renfroe and Cordero.
Sulser retired all five batters he faced, but Christian Vázquez had a two-out RBI double off Dillon Tate in the eighth.
Isaac Mattson became the sixth Oriole to make his major league debut, entering with one out in the ninth and allowing a run on a full-count walk to Cordero and Marwin Gonzalez’s double. A couple of long fly balls got him back in the dugout. Hays made a leaping catch to rob Alex Verdugo.
“Anytime you go out and compete and care about something, the emotions can get high,” Mattson said. “Just doing my best to keep an even keel. It was a cool experience, for sure.”
Mattson began to jog onto the field after the eighth, only to find Tate back on the mound. Both men seemed confused and Mattson retreated to the bullpen. Cordero lined out and Mattson, acquired in the Dylan Bundy trade with the Angels, got his chance.
“A little bit of a miscommunication there,” said manager Brandon Hyde. “I told Tate that if we didn’t score at all that Mattson was coming in the game. He misunderstood me.”
Mattson’s stay was brief. He was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after the game to create room for left-hander Zac Lowther, who’s going to make his first major league start Saturday night.
Devers poked a sinker into left field in the second inning on the ninth pitch of the at-bat for a one-out double, ending the run of hitless innings at 10 2/3 going back to Kyle Lewis’ home run Tuesday night in Seattle.
The next batter, Vázquez, flied out on the 11th pitch. Harvey threw 29 in the inning, raising his total to 43 after only two innings, but they were scoreless.
His count reached 67 after three innings, when he stranded two runners in scoring position after a single and hit batter by striking out Martinez again.
The shutout bid, and it would have required a group effort, evaporated in the fourth.
“I thought Matt threw the ball good,” Hyde said. “That Vázquez at-bat, it was a tough at-bat, just a really good at-bat. Fouling off a lot of pitches. ... Looked like it took a little bit out of him, but he went four innings, no earned runs. We didn’t exactly help him out defensively behind him. We need to start playing better defense behind Matt, because Matt’s doing a nice job.
“We just didn’t play a really clean baseball game tonight, unfortunately, but I thought Matt had good stuff again. Good sinker again, threw some good sliders, but we didn’t score many runs for him and we just didn’t play our best defense.”
Mullins led off the bottom of the first with a walk and Hays singled on a fly ball to left-center field that no one could run down. Mancini lined to Renfroe, who noticed Mullins rounding third base and got the easy double play.
Ramón Urías led off the third with a single and was thrown out trying to steal. He would have been able to score on Hays’ double. Mancini walked and Rodriguez stranded both runners.
Two more runners were left on base, raising the total to seven, after Mancini’s single in the fifth.
Hays singled in the seventh for his first three-hit game of the season. He reached base five times, the last on an error with two outs in the ninth.
Mountcastle singled in the eighth inning for his first three-hit game since Sept. 23, 2020. Freddy Galvis also singled with two outs, but pinch-hitter DJ Stewart flied out.
“I do like when Ryan hits the ball the other way, there’s no doubt about that,” Hyde said. “He’s got so much power over there that he’s just got to trust it.”