BOSTON—Each time Orioles fans keep thinking their favorite team’s season can’t get any worse, it gets worse.
On Wednesday, they were forced to play a day/night doubleheader to make up for Tuesday’s rainout, and they allowed 19 runs, equaling a season-high, to the Red Sox.
They gave up 22 hits, the most they’ve surrendered in more than seven years, and their 16-run margin of defeat was their worst since the infamous 30-3 loss to Texas on Aug. 22, 2007.
And, that all happened in the first game.
It was so bad that manager Buck Showalter used a position player to pitch, utilityman Jace Peterson, who allowed four runs.
With all the injuries the Orioles have had to their starting rotation, Showalter resorted to hoping his bullpen could carry the entire first game, but they weren’t up to the job.
Ryan Meisinger, who hadn’t started a game since his sophomore year at Radford University, was pulled after six batters, five of whom scored.
“I wanted to get through two, three innings out there today,” Meisinger said.
Jimmy Yacabonis could only make it through 3 1/3 innings of the second game, but the Orioles scored three runs in the seventh and four in the ninth in a 10-3 win.
“I just wish we had scored nine more runs and beat them 19-3,” Showalter said after the second game. “It’s a crazy game.”
Tanner Scott pitched 2 2/3 innings for the second-game win, which gave the Orioles their 46th victory of the season. In the 19-3 loss, they notched their 112th loss, eclipsing the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most losses in franchise history.
“We took a beating there in Game 1,” Trey Mancini said. “I was proud of the way we came back and fought in the second game.”
With four games left at home against Houston, Mancini said there is something to play for.
“There’s a pride factor and professionalism that goes into it,” Mancini said. “You don’t lay down any game, no matter who you’re playing. You want to go out and put your best foot forward and try to win. We’re going to do that the last four games.”
It appears Miguel Castro will be unavailable for the final four games because of a right knee injury, Showalter said.
The Orioles have won five games in each of their last five series, winning the final game of the series each time. They lost 16 of their 19 games against the Red Sox.
With 107 wins and the best record in baseball clinched, Boston manager Alex Cora rested Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez in the second game.
Instead of coming into the dugout as most starters do, Meisinger stayed in the bullpen while the Orioles batted in the first.
“That was the best approach,” Meisinger said. “I didn’t want to change much, but it’s definitely a little difficult. Guys are trying to pick up innings, and it’s unfortunate that we’ve had some injuries, but at the same time everybody needs to pick up their share, and I just didn’t do that today.”
John Means became the 56th player used by the Orioles and the 15th to make his major league debut for the team, both club records.
Means hadn’t pitched in 24 days, since two days before his season at Triple-A Norfolk ended. He’d been working out at Sarasota in recent days in case he was needed.
He said it wasn’t the major league debut he’d imagined after giving up five runs in 3 1/3 innings.
“It’s not. It’s disappointing with the team not doing as well as they would hope,” Means said. “Being here is really all I care about. I know going forward it will be a lot better.”
Meisinger’s one-third of an inning wasn’t even the Orioles’ shortest start of the season. It wasn’t even the shortest start of the road trip.
Dylan Bundy (May 8) and Alex Cobb (Sunday) didn’t record an out.
The Orioles allowed 10 or more runs for the 21st time this season.
The Red Sox hit nine doubles by nine different players.
Mookie Betts stole his 30th base, and is the 40th major leaguer to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in a season.
Yet another new pitcher
Peterson had discussed the possibility of pitching with Showalter. For years, Showalter hadn’t used a position player to eat up an inning. He did use Chris Davis for two innings in the 17-inning game at Fenway Park in May 2012, but that was to win the game.
Ryan Flaherty threw an inning against Houston in August 2016, and on Aug. 2, Danny Valencia struck out Texas’ Joey Gallo, the only batter he faced.
Valencia strutted off the mound after that out, but Peterson was having none of that.
“You know how much I detest doing that, especially in September,” Showalter said of using a position player. “We’ve been talking about it for a while. He knew he was the guy. I met him off the field and told him to go down to the bullpen. He said he was loose, but I said you need to go throw. That’s Jace, he’s a pro. I know he’s frustrated he wasn’t able to get them out.”
Peterson gave up four runs in the inning.
Chasing the leader
Manny Machado last played for the Orioles on July 15, but with four games to go he’s still tied for the team lead in home runs (24) and the leader in RBIs (65).
Mancini hit his 24th home run in the first game, drawing even with Machado. Adam Jones’ fifth-inning double gave him 62 RBIs, three behind Machado.
The time of the second game was three hours, 45 minutes. The Orioles’ four slowest nine-inning games were all against Boston.