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BOSTON—The most brutal part of the Orioles’ 2019 schedule ended with arguably the most brutal inning of the season.
Orioles starter Ty Blach began Sunday’s sixth inning with a 6-3 lead. By the time the interminable inning ended, the Boston Red Sox had scored six runs and knocked three pitchers and a catcher out of the game. Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said his team gave the Red Sox six outs in that inning.
Boston’s 13-7 win over the Orioles ended a 13-game stretch with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox. The Orioles lost 12 of 13, and come home to Baltimore with a seven-game losing streak after a winless road trip at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park. Their record is 39-85.
J.D. Martinez began the bottom of the sixth with a double against Blach. Andrew Benintendi flew out to center, and after Sam Travis walked, Gabriel Ynoa replaced Blach and allowed a double to Christian Vazquez that scored Martinez.
With the score 6-4 and Paul Fry pitching, Mitch Moreland popped up to short left field, where Jace Peterson, third baseman Renato Nunez and shortstop Jonathan Villar converged on the ball. Villar was playing near second in the shift, which gave him a longer run than Nunez, who might have been thinking that his teammate was closer.
Somehow, the ball fell for a single, and Villar needlessly threw the ball home. The throw was wild. Travis had scored, clipping catcher Chance Sisco in the neck and shoulder, and Vazquez followed to tie the score at 6.
After an extensive exam, Sisco continued and Chris Owings struck out. Fry walked Betts, and Rafael Devers slammed a double against the left field wall to score Moreland, and Boston led, 7-6.
“We didn’t catch the popup and the wheels fell off following the punch-out of Owings,” Hyde said. “Should have been out of there with a two-run lead and unfortunately it steamrolled on us.”
During Devers’ at-bat, Sisco was hit in the groin by a pitch, and this time he came out of the game.
“Obviously, he had a terrible inning and got hit in a bad spot,” Hyde said. “He’s getting checked out medically right now, so hoping that he’s OK, but we’ll have to wait and see.”
Xander Bogaerts’ infield single scored Betts, and Hyde brought in his fourth pitcher of the inning, Shawn Armstrong.
Martinez hit a grounder to Chris Davis at first, who looked to second base, but no one was covering. He threw late to Armstrong, which allowed Devers to score for a 9-6 lead.
“Thought that was my only play,” Davis said. “I was the only guy on that side of the infield and looked up and there was nobody at the bag. I turned, and it was too late.
“Those kinds of things are the kind of mistakes I’m talking about. Lack of communication. We can’t leave bases uncovered. We can’t be overthrowing the cutoff guys. We’ve just got to do little things right.”
Hyde knew where things went awry.
“We’ve got to catch the popup,” he said. “That’s a play that needs to be made obviously. So then after that the walk to Betts, which I’m OK with. Left on left and a two-strike mistake to Devers. And then just didn’t go well that inning. Anything bad that could happen happened for us, and it’s unfortunate.”
Boston scored four more runs against Armstrong in the eighth on Betts’ sacrifice fly, Devers’ two-run home run and an run-scoring single by Martinez.
That gave the Red Sox 13 unanswered runs after Orioles took a 6-0 lead in the third. Hyde thought Blach pitched well in a performance that will be overlooked.
“That’s hard,” Blach said. “We’re battling, trying to figure out a way to get a zero right there, a few weird plays, a ball drops in, a guy gets knocked over at the plate, things kind of spiral. It’s tough. It’s tough.”
Nunez hit his 27th home run, a three-run shot, in the first, and Trey Mancini, who’s batting .370 at Fenway in 24 career games, singled to drive in two in the second.
Mancini was thrown out trying to stretch the single into a double, ending the inning.
Nathan Eovaldi, who underwent arthroscopic elbow surgery in April, made the start, but was limited to two innings.
In the third, Darwinzon Hernandez allowed an RBI double to Hanser Alberto for the sixth Orioles run.
Blach walked Owings to begin the third. Mookie Betts doubled him to third. Both Owings and Betts scored on infield outs, and it was 6-2.
Travis hit his sixth home run in the fourth to cut the Orioles’ lead to 6-3.
Nunez hit a sacrifice fly in the ninth to make it 13-7.
The Orioles are finished playing the Yankees and Astros, and begin a seven-game against Kansas City on Monday. Their final three games of the season are in Boston September 27-29.
“I actually like playing these teams because they make you play your best baseball,” Davis said. “If you have a weakness, they expose it, and you find out what kind of team you are when you play the best teams. Everybody’s good in the big leagues. This division is tough, but you’ve got to come in day in and day out, you’ve got to work, you’ve got to prepare yourself and get ready to win.”
Lots of moving parts: Dwight Smith Jr. (calf) is nearing a rehab assignment. When Smith returns, his playing time might shrink because Hyde wants to give DJ Stewart, another left-handed hitting outfielder, more extensive playing time.
“I’m just going to be shuffling guys,” Hyde said. “DH helps. I’d like to see as many guys play as possible. Obviously, this year has been an evaluation year and we’re going to continue throwing guys out there through September, watch guys perform and see who’s going to be around going forward.”
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