|Closing Time: Orioles keep slide going for Red Sox, Josh Beckett||08.14.12 at 10:01 pm ET|
BALTIMORE — While the season has slowly disintegrated for the Red Sox, Tuesday night’s 7-1 loss the Orioles fell apart in a hurry.
Most of the trouble for the Red Sox, this time, came in the sixth inning.
After turning in a strong first five innings, starter Josh Beckett ran into trouble in the sixth. Beckett was lifted with one out after giving up his third and fourth run, and then proceeded to be charged with two more runs thanks to Mark Reynolds‘ second home run of the game, coming against Sox reliever Mark Melancon.
Beckett finished giving up six runs over 5 1/3 innings, allowing six hits while striking out two and walking two. The righty threw 86 pitches. He now has given up 14 runs over 11 1/3 innings in his last two starts.
Meanwhile, the Red Sox couldn’t solve Baltimore starter Wei-Yin Chen, who was coming off an outing against the Royals in which he allowed seven runs over 4 2/3 innings. This time the lefty held the Red Sox to just one run over six innings, lowering his ERA to 3.70. In three appearances against the Sox this season, Chen has allowed five earned runs over 18 innings.
The Sox now stand at 57-60, seven games in back of Baltimore in the chase for the wild card.
Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox.
WHAT WENT WRONG
• Beckett fell victim to a pair of leadoff home runs, one by Omar Quintanilla in the third inning and another from Reynolds in the fifth. Both homers cleared the left field wall. Of the 14 home runs allowed by Beckett this season, eight have been with no outs in the inning.
• Mike Aviles had a tough night, striking out three times while stranding four runners. Perhaps the most costly strikeout came with the potential tying run at third in the form of Cody Ross with one out in the sixth inning. After the Aviles punchout, Danny Valencia flew out to center to end the threat.
• With one out in the sixth inning, Matt Wieters hit a high chopper just over the head of Beckett. Neither Aviles nor Dustin Pedroia could charge the ball in time to gather in the grounder, not only allowing J.J. Hardy to score but also putting Wieters safely at first. The next batter, Chris Davis, singled up the middle to score Adam Jones with the O’s fourth run, driving Beckett from the game.
• Reynolds greeted Melancon with a monstrous three-run homer to left field on the reliever’s first pitch. It was the first baseman’s 15th career multi-homer game, his last one coming in ’11 against Beckett. The blast gave the Orioles a 7-1 lead.
• Down by six runs in the seventh inning, the Red Sox squandered yet another opportunity when Ross and Ryan Lavarnway fell victim to back-to-back strikeouts by Orioles reliever Darren O’Day. It made the Red Sox 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, while lifting their stranded runners to 11.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
• Ross helped get the Red Sox even with the O’s in the fourth inning, leading off the frame with a double, moving to third on Lavarnway’s groundout and then scoring via a single up the middle from Carl Crawford.
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