Thursday, April 14, 2016

Fateful 8: Red Sox deal O's first loss

The Red Sox, backed by a resilient pitching performance by Joe Kelly and some timely early hits from Xander Bogaerts and Jackie Bradley Jr., handed the surging Baltimore Orioles their first loss of the season with a 4-2 decision on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.
The O's came in at 7-0 -- a club record start to the season -- and had been the only remaining undefeated team in the Majors.
In five innings, Kelly (1-0) threw 116 pitches, two short of a career high. Despite allowing at least one baserunner in every inning, the righty minimized the damage against him, surrendering seven hits and two runs while walking five and striking out six.
"Obviously, it wasn't the best, but I went out there and battled and grinded against an undefeated team who's been really, really hot," said Kelly.
Baltimore jumped out first when Chris Davis struck for a two-run homer over the Green Monster in the third. Bogaerts delivered a game-tying two-run double a half-inning later against O's starter and losing pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez (1-1).
"I'm proud -- we won the series," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "We won two out of three in the American League East on the road against a team we all know is going to be pretty good this year. We're real proud of that."
Bradley ripped an RBI triple off the base of the right-field wall in the fourth to give the Red Sox a lead they kept.
Kimbrel redeems himself with dominance: Two days after taking the loss in an inauspicious home debut, Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel was back to his dominant self. The righty overpowered the Orioles in the ninth, striking out the top three batters in the order on just 14 pitches. Fittingly, Kimbrel ended the performance by getting Davis swinging. It was Davis who hit a tiebreaking three-run homer off Kimbrel on Monday.
"He's like so many great closers, where if a day doesn't go well, he has a short memory," said Red Sox manager John Farrell. "He wants to get back to it. Fortunately, we were able to provide a lead here in the ninth, and he did a great job."  More >
Machado runs O's out of rally: With Baltimore down two in the sixth, Manny Machado hit a two-out double off reliever Matt Barnes. But any momentum was lost when Machado was thrown out trying to steal third base by catcher Ryan Hanigan. The steal attempt was particularly puzzling because Davis was at the plate.
"He felt it, and he went for it," Showalter said of Machado's decision. "It's like a 30-foot jump shot. If he makes it -- if he takes away the breaking ball in the dirt and it bounces to the backstop -- everybody's patting him on the back."
Pedroia cuts down Hardy: The Fenway fans were treated to an exciting play in the top of the second when J.J. Hardy hit one to deep right-center that Bradley leaped for at the wall but couldn't catch. Right fielder Mookie Betts fielded the carom, and second basemanDustin Pedroia ranged a long way, running to the grass just behind shortstop before making a perfect throw to third. Travis Shaw slapped down the tag to nail Hardy.  More >
Wilson surfaces: Orioles right-handed reliever Tyler Wilson, who hadn't made an appearance since Opening Day, came on after Jimenez and again delivered. Despite the long layoff, Wilson pitched three scoreless innings, running his season total to six scoreless frames.
"He deserves a lot of credit," O's catcher Caleb Joseph said. "That's a really, really tough job against a lot of big names over there, a good offense. Tyler, he's prepared. He's going to be engaged at all times. He came out and pounded the strike zone, kept us within arm's reach of the game. Any time you can do that, look, that's one of the hardest jobs in baseball, to come out and be that kind of long-relief guy who can really keep your team in the game. Kudos to him. He did a fantastic job."  More >
"I mean, we won the first seven games, but our offense was unbelievable. It's not going to happen like that every single night. So we need to step up and do our job." -- Jimenez, who worked five innings on the need for the Orioles' starters to work deeper in games
Baltimore, which entered Wednesday with 12 straight wins dating to last year's regular season, set a franchise record by hitting 14 homers in its first eight games of a season.
Orioles: Baltimore will continue its road trip in Arlington on Thursday at 8:05 p.m. ET with the opener of a four-game series against the Rangers. Baltimore will hand the ball to Chris Tillman, who pitched two scoreless innings against the Twins on Opening Day before rain delays ended his afternoon. In his next outing, Tillman allowed one run over five innings in a victory over the Rays.
Red Sox: On Friday at 7:10 p.m. ET, after enjoying their first scheduled off-day of the season, the Red Sox will host the Blue Jays for the opener of a four-game series. The Jackie Robinson Day matchup pits right-hander Rick Porcello, who won last weekend in Toronto, against knuckleballer R.A. Dickey. Porcello faced Dickey in his last start, when the Boston righty gave up four runs over six innings.

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