One of those Fenway Park type of games this afternoon for the Baltimore Orioles. You had to know it would be a tight one when the O’s got a sizable lead, but starter Dean Kremer only lasted for three innings. Kremer’s line: 3.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 3 K.
The O’s set the tone early on, when Ryan Mountcastle smacked a two-run homer, and Austin Hays followed with a solo shot. The O’s took Boston starter Sale back-to-back in the first inning, and took a 3-0 lead. Following a DuVall triple in the last of the second, Kremer uncorked a Wild Pitch, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 3-1.
But the Orioles kept the pressure on. Jorge Mateo grounded into a force out at second with the bases loaded, forcing in a run. And there’s a situation where the O’s took advantage of an opponent’s mistake; Mateo grounded into what should have been an inning-ending 6-4-3 double-play. But the throw to second was poor, and they only got one out. Cedric Mullins followed with a three-run homer, breaking the game open with a 7-1 Orioles’ lead.
But as I said the other day, you can never have enough runs at Fenway. Verdugo and DuVall each smacked two-run homers for Boston in the last of the third, cutting the Orioles’ lead to 7-5. The Orioles did tack a run on in the fourth on Santander’s RBI-double. For what it’s worth, Santander was thrown out trying to advance to third, and the play was upheld on the Orioles’ challenged. Replays seemed to show that Santander evaded the tag, but such is life.
Boston would tack on two in the eighth, giving the Orioles and closer Felix Bautista a one-run lead in the last of the ninth. Bautista recorded the first two outs with ease. That brought Yoshida to the plate, and he sent a lightly-hit flare into left field. Ryan McKenna camped underneath, and appeared poised to record the final out of the game in a fairly routine manner…
…that is, until McKenna dropped the ball. He took his eyes off it just as he was about to put a squeeze on it, and the ball dropped to the grass. DuVall came up next in the order, and he smacked a two-run walk off home run over the green monster, sending the Orioles to defeat.
That’s what can happen when you let a team hang around. Especially in their home park; and at Fenway Park, to be specific. But that one mistake by McKenna obviously came back to haunt the Birds. Mistakes are going to happen, and if Bautista records an out in the wake of that, it’s never mentioned again, but instead it’s a glaring error, and it directly led to the O’s dropping this game.
Ultimately as Felix Bautista himself said after the game, there are 160 games to go. You’re going to have at least one or two like this. The key is to limit them, and to bounce back tomorrow. If the Orioles can win tomorrow’s game, they can head to Texas with a series victory.
The series concludes tomorrow afternoon at Fenway Park. Cole Irvin gets the start for the O’s, and he’ll be opposed by Boston’s Tanner Houck. Game time is set for just after 1:30 PM.