Closing Time: Chris Davis, Orioles get better of Red Sox in 12 innings
|09.18.13 at 11:12 pm ET|
The Red Sox got closer to the playoffs Wednesday night, but they couldn’t have left Fenway Park giddy about it.
Baltimore’s Chris Davis bounced a two-strike, pitch from Franklin Morales up the middle, just past the dive of second baseman Dustin Pedroia, bringing in a pair of runners and handing the Orioles a 5-3, 12-inning win over the Red Sox. The two-out base hit came with the bases loaded.
The Red Sox still lowered their magic number to one game for a berth as a wild card, with the Indians dropping a 7-2 decision to Kansas City. The magic number for the American League East remains the same (3), with the Rays beating Texas.
Each of the Red Sox’ last four losses have been decided by two runs or less, with the Sox not having suffered a defeat by more than three runs since Aug. 16. It also ended a streak of 10 consecutive wins against lefty starters.
Here is what went wrong for the Red Sox, who are still stuck on 92 wins:
WHAT WENT WRONG
- Mike Napoli produced a rare out with the bases loaded in the third inning, with shortstop J.J. Hardy leaping high in the air to take away the first baseman’s bid at another round of RBI. Napoli came into the at-bat 11-for-22 with 31 RBI with the bases full. Jonny Gomes punctuated the squandered opportunity by following Napoli with a 1-6-3 double play to end the inning.
- Jake Peavy’s bid at a no-hitter was broken up leading off the fifth inning when Danny Valencia led off the frame with a single to right. It marked the first time since June 1, 2012 that the righty had managed to get through the first four innings without surrendering a hit. The hit started a Baltimore rally which resulted in a pair of runs (RBI singles from Matt Wieters and Brian Roberts) and a tie game.
- Matt Wieters broke a 2-2 tie in the sixth inning by rifling a two-out ground-rule double into the right field stands, scoring Nick Markakis. The hit came on Peavy’s 99th pitch.
- Rookie Kevin Gausman befuddled Red Sox hitters, striking out five of the six batters he faced.
- The Red Sox came up short in the 11th after getting runners to first and second with one out, as lefty reliever T.J. McFarland got Stephen Drew to ground into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
WHAT WENT RIGHT
- David Ortiz hit an absolute bomb into the right field seats in the first inning to kick off the scoring. The home run, his sixth of the season against a left-hander, scored Shane Victorino, who had singled. It was also Ortiz’ sixth first-inning home run.
- Mike Napoli hit his seventh home run since August 27 (57 at-bats), knotting the game up at 3-3 with a solo shot into the center field bleachers off Baltimore lefty starter Wei-Yin Chen. Napoli entered the game hitting .520 with a 1.611 OPS against left-handers since Aug. 24.
- Jake Peavy’s arm slot metamorphosis (see story here) took a turn for the better, with the righty turning in a solid seven-inning, three-run performance in whiche he surrendered six hits while striking out eight and walking one.He left with the game knotted at 3-3.
- The Red Sox got another starter out of the game before completing the sixth inning, with Baltimore hurler Chen getting pulled after 5 2/3 innings. Chen finished giving up three runs on 11 hits. Coming into the game, the Sox had faced 1,010 more pitches by relievers than any other team in baseball.
- Will Middlebrooks and Shane Victorino each got hits off Baltimore reliever Tommy Hunter, marking the first game the righty had allowed a hit to a right-handed batter since Aug. 19.
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