BOSTON — Hitters go through slumps all the time in the big leagues. But it seems like early in the season, the Boston Red Sox are going through a slump in the field.

Red Sox manager Alex Cora didn’t disagree as Boston committed two crucial defensive miscues — only one was recorded as an error — in the eighth inning in Thursday night’s 9-4 loss to the Baltimore Orioles in 10 innings at Fenway Park.

Boston was charged with three unearned runs in the defeat and lead all of MLB in that category, signaling the defensive lapses that other teams take advantage of on a regular basis.

“Feels that way,” Cora said on the defense snowballing. “It started a while ago. We had some big games and lately, it’s been routine plays, too. I always say the metrics are the metrics and you want to be great at that, but the routine plays we have to turn into outs. That’s one for me as a manager, I always say we can talk about range and first step, arm strength and all that, but out conversion at this level is a must. We’ve been missing a lot of routine plays the last five or six games and we’ve paid the price.”

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Boston’s defensive mistakes haunted the Red Sox as they tried to protect a one-run lead in the eighth. Pablo Reyes committed a fielding error at third base to begin the frame.

But the Red Sox almost put that behind them when it looked like Ceddanne Rafaela, who subbed in at second base, and David Hamilton combined to turn an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play. The only issue was Hamilton didn’t touch second base on his turn.

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That proved massive as the Red Sox brought on right-handed reliever Greg Weissert, and his first offering to Anthony Santander wound up in the right-field stands to give Baltimore the lead.

“I just got to the bag and (Rafaela) was pretty close to it, so I just assumed that he would get there himself,” Hamilton said of the misplay. “That’s wrong by me to assume that. I got to be there and be ready to turn the page. Not much else to say.”

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The Red Sox were relying on Trevor Story to stabilize the infield at shortstop. But with Story suffering a shoulder injury the will cause him to miss the rest of the season, the Red Sox have been forced to go to a platoon at the position and the defense has taken a hit because of it.

“We’re not converting outs. Something we’ve talked about the whole time,” Cora said. “We got to turn the page with Trevor. He’s not going to be here. That’s the bottom line. We have to step up. Whoever is playing, they’re capable. They showed it in camp. We played some clean baseball. Now obviously, the lights and the third deck come into play and every game matters, every inning matters.

“We just have to slow the game down and make plays. It’s not going to be lack of trying, lack of effort.”

Here are more notes on Thursday’s Red Sox-Orioles game:

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— Connor Wong did a little bit of everything in the loss. He first came up clutch by smacking a pinch-hit solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to tie the score.

“Just trying to get a good pitch to hit, put a good swing on it,” Wong said. “Keep it simple.”

He then made a couple of plays at second base in the top of the ninth before catching in the 10th after Reese McGuire got ejected after striking out the inning prior.

— The Red Sox starting pitching did its job against the Orioles, combining to allow just two earned runs over 15 1/3 innings. Garrett Whitlock was part of that as he turned in a strong showing on the mound again. The right-hander went five innings, surrendering one run on four hits with one walk and four strikeouts. He owns a 1.26 ERA over his first three starts of the season.

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“In all honesty, no,” Whitlock said on if he’s been this consistent over a three-start stretch in his career. “But last year it felt like good one, bad one, good one, bad one. So, to be able to put three in a row together is definitely a good thing and want to keep adding those together.”

— Justin Slaten continues to be a valuable piece out of the Red Sox bullpen. The right-hander tossed two scoreless innings of relief, allowing no hits and one walk while striking out one. Slaten has let up just one hit and no earned runs in the first 7 2/3 innings of his big league career.

— Jackson Holliday, who is the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, leaves Boston still in search of his first hit in the big leagues. The 20-year-old second baseman played the final two games of the series and went 0-for-8 at the plate with four strikeouts.

— Colton Cowser was a one-man wrecking ball for the Orioles against the Red Sox. He belted two home runs in Thursday’s win and finished the series going 6-for-13 with an eye-popping 10 RBIs.

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— The Red Sox welcome the Los Angeles Angels for a three-game series, which begins Friday night. Boston just took two out of three against the Angels on the West Coast. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET, and you can watch the game, plus 90 minutes of pregame coverage, on NESN.

Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images