BOSTON—Not terribly long ago, the Orioles were feeling pleased with themselves. They’d won the last two games at Yankee Stadium and their first two in Toronto, and had a 4-1 record.
Now, they’ve lost eight of nine, and have a 5-9 record.
Starter David Hess gave up three runs in 5 2/3 innings and had the Orioles hit more, they could have come up with a win. Their 6-4 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night was one of their more competitive games recently, and they were further stymied by couple of outstanding plays by Boston center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr.
For the fourth time in 14 games, the Orioles didn’t have a hit in the first three innings. Eduardo Rodriguez retired the first 14 Orioles and was lifted after Dwight Smith Jr.’s home run in the seventh.
“He pitched into the sixth for us, threw the ball well,” manager Brandon Hyde said of Hess. “We played some good defense behind him. We just didn’t score any runs. We had four hits yesterday and four again. We’ve got to get more hits, obviously, we’ve got to get more baserunners. I like the way we’re grinding out at-bats. We’ve just been slow the last couple games putting rallies together.”
Hess allowed a home run to Andrew Benintendi and kept alive the Orioles’ streak of allowing a homer in each of their first 14 games, two games shy of the major league record set by the 2009 Philadelphia Phillies.
“I think that guys are hungry more than anything,” Hess said. “I think just coming in and not laying down. There’s a lot of—I wouldn’t say frustration towards each other because that’s definitely not the case, but just frustration because we’re a bunch of guys that want to win.
“We’ve really stuck together well, from what I can tell, and as a group, we’ve really come together and picked each other up. Every day we come in just aiming for a win, and it’s been a little bit of tough luck, but we’ll get it together and we’ll be good to go.”
Smith is getting a chance to play regularly for the first time in his major league career and has played well.
“It can get frustrating for sure because we know what we’re capable of, and we’re capable of playing better,” Smith said. “It’s not like we’ve been playing bad, but we’re playing good teams that have just been capitalizing. It’s tough. We’ve just got to keep pushing.”
Renato Nunez hit a 450-foot, two-run home run in the ninth, and Chris Davis lined out to second as a pinch-hitter for the final out of the game.
Davis is 0-for-33 this season, hitless in 54 straight at-bats and without a hit in 62 consecutive plate appearances.
Fenway fan: In his first visit to Fenway Park as a big league manager, Hyde was impressed.
“This is obviously a really special place,” Hyde said. “Coming into parks like this, I love the history, I love the atmosphere. I’ve been here a couple of times, and I’m looking forward to coming multiple times a year now.
“It’s just special. I just love it. I think our guys feel that; they feed off that. The young guys will hear an opposing crowd that’s loud and passionate about the Red Sox. It’s phenomenal. It’s outstanding. I ran a little bit today. Last time we were here, I went behind the wall. I just love the whole environment, the whole atmosphere.”
Severino cleared to play: Catcher Pedro Severino was hit in the helmet by Oakland’s J.B. Wendelken in the seventh inning of Thursday’s game. He was tested for concussion-like symptoms and passed the test.
“He feels a lot better,” Hyde said. “We caught a break there. It’s always scary when somebody gets hit in the head. He’s got a little bit of a headache. They cleared him of all concussion symptoms, and he feels much better today.”
Norfolk scratched Chance Sisco from Thursday’s game in case he was needed, but a move wasn’t necessary.
“I think if he came in with the tests today and they didn’t go well, we were going to have to,” Hyde said. “The concussion thing, you’re obviously very sensitive to, and you want to treat that correctly. We put them through a lot of tests last night. Woke up today feeling good, did some more stuff, and he’s ready to go.”
Scott works on control: Many fans assumed that Tanner Scott would start the season with the Orioles. He pitched much of 2018 in Baltimore, but Scott began the year with Triple-A Norfolk before he was recalled for Thursday’s game.
Scott allowed two hits and recorded one out in the Orioles’ 8-5 loss to Oakland.
“I came into camp not expecting anything,” Scott said. “You’ve got to work. You’ve got to earn your spot. I had a couple of outings this spring that weren’t really good. I didn’t deserve to be on the team at the beginning. You have to pitch better to be up here.”
In two outings for Norfolk, Scott allowed three runs in 2 1/3 innings. The Orioles would have preferred to keep him at Triple-A, but Richard Bleier’s injury opened a spot for a left-hander. Scott has been struggling with his control.
“Consistency, be more consistent in throwing strikes and getting outs,” Scott said. “Everyone knows my consistency and strike-throwing last year was not really great, and cut that down.”