BALTIMORE—The Orioles played the Boston Red Sox even for 11 innings. By the time the 12th came around, manager Brandon Hyde inserted Yefry Ramirez into the game, hoping for length in case the game dragged on.
Ramirez got the first two Boston batters out in the inning, and then Andrew Benintendi launched his fourth home run to right field, and the Red Sox beat the Orioles, 2-1.
The Orioles nearly won it in the bottom of the 11th, but Jackie Bradley Jr. leaped and with his back to the field, caught Trey Mancini’s drive chest high. Mancini doffed his helmet to salute him.
“It’s one of the worst feelings you can describe, but I didn’t get my hopes up too much,” Mancini said “I’ve hit too many balls to center that I thought were hits and Jackie’s playing center that he comes down with, so I didn’t really get my hopes up too much.
“I didn’t want to get too excited until it went over the fence. It was an amazing catch. I mean, what else can you say? It was game on the line, tie ballgame, 11th inning. Just a great catch. And it really stinks to be on the losing side of it and think you hit a walk-off, but you’ve got to tip your cap to him there. That was insane.”
Boston won two of three, but the Orioles played creditably in each of the games. They’ll head into today’s off-day with a 13-24 record, and await Shohei Ohtani’s first appearance in Baltimore as the Los Angeles Angels arrive for three games beginning Friday.
Paul Fry, Mychal Givens and Shawn Armstrong combined for five scoreless innings in relief of Andrew Cashner.
Chris Sale, who held the Orioles hitless for the first 5 2/3 innings, struck out 14 in eight innings, and four Boston relievers struck out the Orioles eight times in the final four innings. The Orioles didn’t walk, and the 22 strikeouts were a team record. In the seventh, Sale struck out Hanser Alberto, Dwight Smith Jr. and Stevie Wilkerson on nine pitches for an immaculate inning.
When Hyde was asked about the strikeouts, he interrupted a questioner.
“Let’s talk about first about how well we played, and how we took a really good club to the 12th inning,” Hyde said. “I’m just really proud of how our guys played. Big plays defensively, grind out at-bats against World Series pitching. Our guys without a whole lot of experience, major league at-bats, I’m just happy with how we played.
“Yeah, we punched out, but it’s Chris Sale. That’s an All-Star starter. And he had good stuff and we went toe-to-toe to the 12th inning. I thought we played well the whole series. It was a heck of a series and a great baseball game tonight.”
Besides the seventh, Sale struck out the side in the third. Five of his final six outs were on strikeouts, and the 14 strikeouts were one shy of his career high.
“I think they did a great job tonight,” Mancini said. “When Sale’s on the mound, it’s always going to be tough and he’s s strikeout pitcher and, yeah, unfortunately that’s a lot of strikeouts for us. Couldn’t put too many good at-bats together in a row.”
Mancini had a leadoff double in the ninth and moved to third on Rio Ruiz’s infield single. He held at third on Smith’s roller to reliever Matt Barnes. Wilkerson, who struck out four times, ended the inning with a strikeout.
“We never lost hope the whole game and, yeah, it was a good feeling and we had some chances to win it there in the ninth and later on in the game,” Mancini said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t come through. But defensively, and I thought we played well and our pitchers did a great job tonight, too. So you have to give them a lot of credit for what they did out there.”
After the catch against Mancini, the Orioles struck out in their final four at-bats, but there was no carryover after the great catch.
“Obviously, it’s like, ‘Did that just happen?’” Hyde said. “You see him flip the ball in his hand. But the game’s not over at that point and you’ve got to keep playing.
“Good players and great teams make great plays in big spots and that was an ultra-exceptional play. But you’ve got to continue to battle and I thought we did, and Benintendi beat us with a solo homer. But we had some opportunities. Those relievers for them, they’re no joke, right?”
Cashner’s night: Cashner allowed a home run to Mookie Betts in the third. It was Betts’ 14th home run in 42 games at Oriole Park.
Overall, Cashner allowed the run on four hits in six innings and threw 104 pitches, a season-high for the Orioles.
“I thought I threw the ball well,” Cashner said. “My offspeed, I can definitely work on. Some things I did well, some things I didn’t do well. Our defense was really good tonight.”