As Trey Wilson’s Skip famously said, “This… is a simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball.”
Well, the Boston Red Sox (Christian Vazquez notwithstanding) didn’t excel in any of those areas Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park. They also got caught stealing once, if you’re into that sort of thing.
The Red Sox entered Game 2 of their four-game series with the Baltimore Orioles on a modest two-game winning streak. But whatever good vibes Boston built up over the previous two days were eradicated in a 9-5 loss to their American League East rivals.
Rick Porcello got the start for the Red Sox and, though he only allowed three runs, was ineffective in his four innings of work. The right-hander walked five, watched Chris Davis break his 0-for-54 streak and fell to 0-3 on the season.
Boston got a homer and four RBIs from Vazquez, who finished with two of the team’s six hits. Outside of the light-hitting backstop, Red Sox batters were unable to come up with timely hits against Orioles starter Andrew Cashner or any of the team’s relievers.
As for defense, Boston committed two errors in what was a sloppy day at Fenway.
The Red Sox fell to 5-10 with the loss, while the Orioles climbed to 5-10 with the win.
Here’s how it went down:
GAME IN A WORD
As has been the case far too often this season, the Red Sox played an ugly brand of baseball and paid the price.
ON THE BUMP
— Once again, command was an issue for Porcello.
The right-hander lasted just four innings against the Orioles, allowing three runs on six hits while walking five. Porcello threw just 48 of his 90 pitches for strikes and, if we’re being honest, was lucky to be tagged for just three runs. He’s now 0-3 with an 11.12 ERA — an “improvement” over the 13.50 ERA he entered the game with.
As soon as Porcello gave up a two-run single to the previously 0-for-54 Davis, you knew it was going to be a long day.
If nothing else, Porcello can say he battled Saturday afternoon. The Orioles had a chance to blow the game open on multiple occasions, but the veteran right-hander was able to minimize the damage each time.
It all caught up to him in the fifth, however, when the Orioles opened the frame with back-to-back singles.
— Heath Hembree took over from there and was greeted by an RBI double from Renato Nunez that gave Baltimore a 3-2 lead. Hembree retired the next three batters to hold the Orioles at three runs.
— Colten Brewer got the ball in the sixth and, frankly, was a disaster.
The right-hander allowed the first five batters to reach, watching the Oriole balloon their lead to 6-2 in the process. One of the runs came when third baseman Rio Ruiz lined a soft live drive that either Xander Bogaerts or Dustin Pedroia could have caught, but didn’t. The play wasn’t scored an error, but still should’ve been made by somebody.
Brewer was removed without recording an out.
— Marcus Walden came in for Brewer and allowed an inherited runner to score on a fielder’s choice, but retired the next two batters to end the frame. It was yet another impressive performance for Walden, who entered the game with a 2-0 record and 0.00 ERA in three appearances.
But then Walden came back out for the seventh and allowed two runs on a hit, a walk and two errors, one of them his own. The other came when first baseman Steve Pearce botched a ground ball with one out and men on first and second, allowing a run to score.
On the next at-bat, Nunez hit a sharp ground ball to Rafael Devers, who initially wanted to make a play at home plate. But the third baseman bobbled the ball and had to settle for a fielder’s choice at second base. It probably should have been an error.
— Tyler Thornburg pitched around a double by Davis and a wild pitch to post a scoreless eighth inning.
— Hector Velazquez, who is scheduled to start Monday in the series finale, also pitched around a base hit and a wild pitch to log a scoreless ninth. The right-hander was aided by Vazquez, who threw out a would-be base-stealer at third base.
When the dust settled, the Red Sox allowed 13 hits — including three hits and four RBIs from Davis — to the lowly Orioles. Boston pitchers issued eight free passes.
IN THE BATTER’S BOX
— While Vazquez had just a so-so afternoon behind the dish, he had a fine afternoon when standing next to it. The Red Sox catcher went 2-for-4, including this two-run homer:
Vazquez added a two-run double in the seventh to narrow Baltimore’s lead to 9-5.
— Andrew Benintendi, Mookie Betts, Rafael Devers and J.D. Martinez all finished with one hit.
— Bogaerts finished 0-for-4 with four strikeouts.
— Red Sox batters stranded seven men on base.
— The Red Sox were set down in order in the ninth, a fittingly punchless ending to a forgettable game for Alex Cora’s club.
TWEET OF THE DAY
At least there was this:
The Red Sox and Orioles will continue their four-game set with Game 3 on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET. David Price is expected to get the ball for Boston and will be opposed by John Means.