Red Sox-Orioles Live: Boston’s Offense Struggles As Sox Drop 5-2 Decision to O’s

Jackie Bradley Jr.Final, Orioles 5-2: Baltimore’s three-run eighth inning proved to be big. The Red Sox pushed across a run in the ninth, but it was too little, too late, and the Orioles pick up a 5-2 win.

This marks the second straight game that the Red Sox have failed to generate much offense. Boston only had five hits and were shut out in a loss to the Twins on Friday, and Saturday’s effort didn’t prove to be much better. The Sox collected two runs on seven hits, and were held mostly in check throughout the contest.

Felix Doubront allowed a pair of runs in his three innings, and Terry Doyle ran into some trouble in the eighth inning that led to three more Baltimore runs, but the pitching wasn’t really the issue.

Doubront allowed four hits and a walk in addition to the two runs. He did strike out five, though, so the stuff was certainly there for the left-hander.

Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Bailey and Andrew Miller each chipped in a scoreless inning. Bailey escaped a self-imposed bases-loaded jam, but Hanrahan and Miller each enjoyed a perfect inning with four combined strikeouts.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia collected two hits for the Red Sox, but the top half of Boston’s order struggled. The Sox were a combined 1-for-15 with four strikeouts out of the top four spots in the lineup.

The Red Sox will once again take the field on Sunday. They’ll play the Rays in Port Charlotte. That game will start up at 1:05 p.m. ET, and it will be televised on NESN. John Lackey gets the start.

Mid 9th, Orioles 5-1: The Red Sox really have their work cut out for them now.

Boston entered the bottom of the eighth facing just a one-run deficit, but Baltimore put up three runs and now hold a 5-1 lead.

Terry Doyle took the hill for a third inning, and he immediately ran into some trouble.

Niuman Romero led off with a single into left field. Adrian Marin then hit a ball back to the mound that could have been a double play. Doyle’s throw to second sailed into the outfield, though, which allowed Romero to take third and Marin to reach safely at first.

Jose Gil, who showed off his arm back in the seventh, didn’t enjoy the same success at the plate. He struck out looking for the first out. Doyle couldn’t generate any momentum off the K, though, as Jason Pridie drilled a double over Jackie Bradley Jr.’s head in center field.

After Trayvon Robinson grounded out, Xavier Bradley gave the O’s their fifth run on a base hit into center.

End 8th, Orioles 2-1: The eighth inning marked another uneventful sequence for the Red Sox’ offense.

J.C. Linares, who was batting when Jeremy Hazelbaker was caught stealing in the seventh, led off with a groundout.

Zach Clark, the new O’s pitcher, then got the hot-swinging Jackie Bradley Jr. to ground out and Dan Butler to pop out behind the bag at first.

If the Red Sox want to come away from this one victorious, they’ll need to turn things around in the ninth. Otherwise, this marks the second straight disappointing effort from the Boston bats.

Mid 8th, Orioles 2-1: Terry Doyle held down the O’s again, despite surrendering a one-out single.

Doyle struck out Nolan Reimold, and allowed a hit to Travis Ishikawa, who has entered the game as Baltimore’s new first baseman.

Doyle then decided giving up hits wasn’t for him, and he retired L.J. Hoes and Buck Britton to get back into the dugout.

The Red Sox have struck out 11 Orioles hitters in this one.

End 7th, Orioles 2-1: Boston’s pitching has been solid, but Baltimore’s hurlers have been up to the task as well.

Mike Belfiore came on for a second inning, and he kept the one-run lead intact.

Mitch Maier led off with a single, and was subsequently lifted for a pinch runner in Jeremy Hazelbaker. Belfiore then picked up his third and fourth strikeouts of the game by fanning Pedro Ciriaco and Jonathan Diaz — who were each batting for the first time.

J.C. Linares came to the plate for his first at-bat, but Hazelbaker attempted to swipe second. Catcher Jose Gil was having none of that.

At first, it looked as if Hazelbaker may have beaten the throw, but replays clearly show that he was tagged on the shoulder before getting his feet in.

Mid 7th, Orioles 2-1: The Red Sox are getting another solid effort out of their pitchers. Terry Doyle was the latest to shut down the O’s.

Doyle retired the side in order in the seventh. He got Luis Exposito, who had reached base safely in his two previous plate appearances, to ground out for the first out.

Doyle then retired Jason Pridie and Trayvon Robinson — each of whom was batting for the first time — on a flyout and groundout, respectively.

It’s also that time of the game. The Red Sox have made a number of changes.

Jonathan Diaz, J.C. Linares, Dan Butler, Lyle Overbay, Drew Sutton, Jeremy Hazelbaker and Pedro Ciriaco are in. Brock Holt, Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Will Middlebrooks, Mitch Maier and Jose Iglesias are out.

End 6th, Orioles 2-1: Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Will Middlebrooks ripped back-to-back two-out singles, but Mike Belfiore escaped the jam without any harm inflicted.

Jackie Bradley Jr. grounded out to second base, and Mike Napoli came up empty on a hearty cut for the second out. That’s when Saltalamacchia and Middlebrooks threatened to tie this game up.

Salty ripped a base hit into left field, and he’s now 2-for-3. Middlebrooks then jumped all over the first pitch he saw, singling into left-center to put runners at first and second.

Mike Carp was unable to do anything with the two runners on base, though. He struck out on three pitches to end the inning.

New Hampshire native Terry Doyle will take over on the mound for Boston in the seventh.

Mid 6th, Orioles 2-1: Good stuff from Andrew Miller in the sixth.

Miller showed great velocity and a nasty curveball as he retired Russ Canzler, Danny Valencia and Yamaico Navarro in order.

Valencia and Navarro are each having a night to forget. They’re now a combined 0-for-6 with five strikeouts — Valencia has three and Navarro has two.

Miller continues to be a very interesting reliever heading into this season. He’s kind of flying under the radar given the additions of Joel Hanrahan and Koji Uehara, the intrigue surrounding Andrew Bailey’s bounce-back bid and the unpredictability of Daniel Bard. At the end of the day, though, Miller could be a vital piece, especially because of his ability to go multiple innings.

End 5th, Orioles 2-1: Kevin Gausman has had his way with the Red Sox in the three innings he’s pitched.

Gausman retired the side in order in the fifth. He first got Jose Iglesias to ground out and Brock Holt to fly out, before striking out Jonny Gomes swinging to end the inning.

Gomes is now 0-for-3 with two strikeouts in this one. Holt and Gomes are a combined 0-for-6 atop the Boston order.

Mid 5th, Orioles 2-1: When the regular season comes, it’s expected to be Andrew Bailey setting up for Joel Hanrahan. Bailey succeeded Hanrahan in this game, though.

Luis Exposito greeted the new Boston hurler with a base hit up the middle. It’s the second time Exposito has reached safely, as the No. 9 hitter also worked a walk earlier in the game.

Bailey got Alexi Casilla to fly out to right field, but Lew Ford has been a pain for Boston pitching. Ford drilled a single into center, marking his third hit of the ballgame.

Bailey made the inning more troublesome by plunking Conor Jackson with two outs after striking out Nolan Reimold. Fortunately for the Sox, he avoided any damage by getting Steve Pearce to ground into a 5-4 force out.

End 4th, Orioles 2-1: Jarrod Saltalamacchia got things started with a base hit, but the Red Sox were again held in check.

Kevin Gausman, working his second inning of relief, struck out Will Middlebrooks and then got Mike Carp to hit a little roller in front of home plate. The catcher, Luis Exposito, charged out from behind the dish, and he fired down to first base to nail Carp.

Middlebrooks moved up to second base on Carp’s slow dribbler, but Mitch Maier couldn’t drive him in. Maier lined out softly to Alexi Casilla at short for the final out.

Andrew Bailey will pitch the fifth for Boston.

Mid 4th, Orioles 2-1: It’d be understandable if Joel Hanrahan’s mind was elsewhere, but it looked as if he was focused in the fourth inning.

Hanrahan, who entered the game having allowed nine runs (five earned) in three innings this spring, retired the Orioles in order.

Russ Canzler flew out to center field for the first out. Hanrahan then struck out Danny Valencia and Yamaico Navarro swinging. Valencia’s K was his second of the game.

End 3rd, Orioles 2-1: Jackie Bradley Jr. really doesn’t want to go back to the minors.

Bradley reached base for the second time in this game by hitting a line-drive base hit into left-center field. It came after Brock Holt grounded out and Jonny Gomes struck out to begin the inning.

Mike Napoli flew out to end the inning, but man, has Bradley been scorching this spring. The hit in the third inning increases the 22-year-old’s average to above the .500-mark, as he’s now 11-for-21. Not bad for your first big league camp.

Joel Hanrahan, who has struggled this spring, will pitch the fourth inning for Boston. Hanrahan’s wife is expecting a baby in two days, which is apparently enough for the big righty to shave.

Mid 3rd, Orioles 2-1: Felix Doubront has racked up five K’s, but he’s also endured some struggles, and the O’s were able to regain the lead in the third.

Luis Exposito led off the inning with a walk. Two batters later, Lew Ford picked up his second hit of the game, doubling into left-center field to put runners at second and third.

Nolan Reimold took advantage of the opportunity placed before him. He shot a base hit the other way between first and second base to score Baltimore’s second run of the game.

The O’s had a chance to do some more damage, as they had runners at the corners with one out. Doubront settled down, though. He struck out Conor Jackson swinging, and Steve Pearce then grounded into a 5-4 force out.

That’ll likely be the night for Doubront, who allowed two runs on four hits and a walk. As mentioned, he had five K’s as well.

7:45 p.m.: While on the topic of former Red Sox players playing for the O’s in this game, I should also mention that Lew Ford and Luis Exposito are former Sox farmhands.

Ford was drafted by the Red Sox in the 12th round of the 1999 draft. He then spent the 1999 and 2000 seasons in the Sox system before getting traded to Minnesota for Hector Carrasco in September of 2010.

Exposito was selected by the Sox in the 31st round in 2005. He was in the Red Sox system until 2012, when he was then claimed off waivers by the Orioles.

End 2nd, 1-1: I already mentioned Danny Valencia and Yamaico Navarro, each of whom spent time in Boston. But it was another former Red Sox player who cost the Orioles in the second inning.

Conor Jackson, who played in 12 games with the Red Sox in 2011, had a hard time handling Mitch Maier’s two-out hit down the right-field line. Jackson bobbled the ball not once, but twice, which allowed Will Middlebrooks to score all the way from first base.

Middlebrooks reached via a one-out walk, marking Dylan Bundy’s second free pass of the inning. Bundy got Jose Iglesias to ground out to short to end the inning, which left Maier — who ended up on third base following his hit — 90 feet from scoring the go-around run.

Mid 2nd, Orioles 1-0: Felix Doubront was much more effective in the second inning.

Doubront struck out both Russ Canzler and former Red Sox infielder Danny Valencia swinging to begin the inning. The lefty then retired another former Red Sox player, Yamaico Navarro, on a lazy flyball to Mitch Maier in right for the final out.

Valencia appeared in 10 games with Boston in 2012. He hit .143 (4-for-28). Navarro, who was traded for Mike Aviles, hit .216 (8-for-37) in 16 games with the Red Sox in 2011.

End 1st, Orioles 1-0: The Red Sox couldn’t respond in the first.

Dylan Bundy issued a two-out walk to Jackie Bradley Jr., who continues to be an on-base machine, but that was the only offense the Sox could manage.

Bundy got Brock Holt to ground out to second base and Jonny Gomes to fly out to right field for the inning’s first two outs. After Bradley’s walk, Bundy retired Mike Napoli via a 5-4 force out.

Bundy, who is just 20 years old, figures to be a huge part of Baltimore’s future. He got his first taste of big league action in 2012, and the sky is definitely the limit for the young righty.

Mid 1st, Orioles 1-0: It took two pitches for the Orioles to get on the board.

Alexi Casilla led off the game with a double into the left-field corner, and he came around to score on a base hit by Lew Ford. Mike Napoli went into the dive in an effort to snag Ford’s line drive, but it shot past the first baseman and into right field.

The Red Sox then had two separate chances to execute a 5-4-3 double play, but each time, the relay to first wasn’t executed. Nevertheless, it resulted in two force outs for the inning’s first two outs.

Felix Doubront settled down to strike out Steve Pearce to end the inning. Promising, young right-hander Dylan Bundy will take the mound to start the game for the O’s.

7:07 p.m.: We’re under way at JetBlue Park…

7:05 p.m.: I also have some Red Sox-related notes to pass along.

David Ortiz, whose status continues to be a mystery, was sent for an MRI on both of his heels on Saturday. The results haven’t come back yet, but manager John Farrell said that the Red Sox are trying to rule out any complications in the slugger’s recovery process.

Farrell was asked if Jackie Bradley Jr. could earn a spot on Boston’s Opening Day roster if Ortiz is forced to start the season on the disabled list, and the Sox skipper reiterated the stance he’s had all spring. Farrell said he expects Bradley to begin the season in the minors, although he’s not ruling anything out.

Farrell also said that Stephen Drew is day-to-day is his battle with a concussion. The shortstop’s status has improved, though.

Click here to read more about Ortiz’s status >>

Click here to read more about Drew’s status >>

Click here to read about Bradley >>

7 p.m.: It’s also worth mentioning that Mariano Rivera officially announced that he’ll retire at the end of this season.

Rivera, who made the announcement at a news conference on Saturday, has firmly cemented himself as the greatest closer in MLB history. It’s rare that you stumble upon a sports topic that can’t be debated, but anyone who says Rivera isn’t the greatest ninth-inning hurler of all time must be smoking some sort of illegal substance.

What’s amazing about Rivera is that he’s also a guy who you really can’t hate, even if he does consistently dominate your team.

I actually wrote about Rivera’s career on Saturday morning, and the longtime Yankee has certainly accomplished some unimaginable things during his career. Feel free to check that story out at the link below.

Click here to read about Rivera’s career >>

6:55 p.m.: We’re about 10 minutes away from game time, but one member of the Red Sox has already had a very eventful day.

Alfredo Aceves was involved in a huge brawl between Mexico and Canada in the World Baseball Classic. The rumble started when Mexico pitcher Arnold Leon threw at Rene Tosoni. Although he missed on his initial bid,  both teams were warned by the umpire. One pitch later, Leon hit Tosoni and the benches cleared.

Aceves immediately joined the fray, and he could be seen wrestling with Tyson Gillies. The Red Sox hurler even appeared to suffer a blow to the head, although he was still very much in the midst of things as the dust started to settle.

Aceves was eventually ejected from the game, and you can bet that this incident will only add fuel to the fire when it comes to the mercurial right-hander. It should be mentioned that Aceves’ Boston teammates didn’t seem to mind, though, as they reportedly cheered on their pitcher while watching the game on TV in the clubhouse.

The most unfortunate part about the brawl was that the fans got involved, with one onlooker even throwing a water bottle in the direction of the Canadian players.

Click here to see a video of the WBC brawl >>

Click here to see a GIF of Canada’s pitching coach getting hit in the face with a water bottle >>

5:25 p.m.: Lineup here! Get your lineup card here!

The Red Sox’ lineup card is in, and it looks like Brock Holt, Jonny Gomes and Jackie Bradley Jr. will be the top three hitters, with Mike Napoli back at first base and hitting out of the cleanup spot.

Check out the complete lineups below.

Red Sox
Brock Holt, 2B
Jonny Gomes, LF
Jackie Bradley Jr., CF
Mike Napoli, 1B
Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
Will Middlebrooks, 3B
Mike Carp, DH
Mitch Maier, RF
Jose Iglesias, SS

Felix Doubront, P

Alexi Casilla, SS
Lew Ford, CF
Nolan Reimold, DH
Conor Jackson, RF
Steve Pearce, LF
Russ Canzler, 3B
Danny Valencia, 1B
Yamaico Navarro, 2B
Luis Exposito, C

Dylan Bundy, P

8 a.m. ET: The Red Sox’ offense has had a real Jekyll and Hyde thing going on over the last two games.

On Thursday, the Red Sox smacked 16 hits and scored 12 runs in a winning effort over the Twins. On Friday, the Twins exacted some revenge, holding the Sox scoreless and limiting them to five hits.

The Sox will take their cuts against Dylan Bundy and the Orioles on Saturday. It’ll be Boston’s second of five spring contests against the O’s, and it will, of course, set the table for the teams’ usual 19 regular-season clashes.

Felix Doubront will take the ball for Boston. This marks his second start of the spring. The left-hander went 1 2/3 innings against the Rays on Monday in his first start. Doubront surrendered two walks and hit in that contest, but he didn’t allow a run and struck out two.

Doubront will be followed on Saturday by Terry Doyle, Joel Hanrahan, Andrew Miller and Andrew Bailey.

Saturday’s game will kick off from JetBlue Park at 7:05 p.m. ET. All of the action will be televised on NESN, so be sure to tune in. Then, pop back over here for some additional commentary and analysis.

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