BALTIMORE—Bruce Zimmermann finally got to pitch in front of his family and friends at the ballpark where he watched games growing up. He pitched well enough to record a quality start but didn’t stay in the game long enough to win.
Dillon Tate’s 10th-inning wild pitch, which tipped off the top of catcher Pedtro Severino’s glove, allowed the winning run to score as the Boston Red Sox beat the Orioles, 6-4, before 9,307 at Oriole Park on Saturday night. The Orioles are 4-4.
Michael Chavis, who was the automatic runner at second to start the 10th, advanced to third on Kiké Hernández’s deep fly to center and scored when Severino couldn’t pull down Tate’s high pitch. Christian Vazquez’s RBI single gave Boston a two-run lead.
For the second straight start against Boston, Zimmermann allowed three runs in six innings. In his first start on Easter, the Orioles scored 10 runs while he was on the mound on the way to an 11-3 win.
When Zimmermann made his major league debut last September, the Woodstock, Maryland resident pitched in an empty stadium because of Covid-19. He was looking forward to having family and friends watch him pitch at Oriole Park.
“It was pretty much everything I could have imagined,” said Zimmermann, who pitched for Loyola Blakefield. “It was extremely special. I had all my siblings here and their spouses behind home plate. Probably three or four pockets of friends, guys I played baseball with growing up, went to high school with, pretty much you name it, they were out there supporting me.
“I definitely heard it throughout the night.”
Zimmermann had a rough first inning, giving up two runs. Rafael Devers’ RBI single scored Adam Verdugo and sent Xander Bogaerts, who had walked, to second.
With Marwin Gonzalez at the plate, catcher Chance Sisco picked off Devers, but the Orioles didn’t execute the rundown well and Bogaerts was able to score before Devers was tagged out.
In the bottom of the first, first baseman Trey Mancini, who could have thrown home in an attempt to prevent Bogaerts from scoring, hit his first home run since September 28, 2019 at Fenway Park. Mancini missed the 2020 season because of colon cancer surgery.
“It gave everybody chills,” centerfielder Cedric Mullins said. “It was an amazing moment. To watch him in front of the home crowd jog the bases and get a solid swing off, it was awesome.”
Rightfielder Anthony Santander followed with his first home run of the year to tie the score, 2-2.
In the bottom of the second, Devers gave the Orioles a chance to score when he didn’t tag Rio Ruiz on a stolen-base attempt after Sisco struck out for the second out.
The top of the fourth ended when Gonzalez, who singled with two outs, attempted to score on Christian Arroyo’s double. Leftfielder DJ Stewart, who was playing his first game since missing the season’s first week because of a strained left hamstring, made a strong throw to Ruiz, who snapped a throw home to Sisco for the third out.
Mullins, whose single in the bottom of the fifth gave him a hit in each of the Orioles’ eight games, made a fine catch on Hernández’s drive at the center field wall for the second out of the top of the fifth.
Devers homered in the top of the sixth to give Boston a 3-2 lead.
Zimmermann allowed three runs on seven hits, walked one and struck out four. He couldn’t count the number of friends and relatives who came out.
“It was an outpouring of support that a hometown kid can only dream of having at the ballpark behind him,” Zimmermann said.
The Orioles took a 4-3 lead in the eighth, scoring two. Ryan Mountcastle began the inning with a single against Adam Ottavino. Stewart doubled to center, moving Mountcastle took third. Ryan McKenna pinch-ran for Stewart.
Maikel Franco bounced to Boston first baseman Bobby Dalbec, who threw home but his throw was toward the first base side and Mountcastle scored for a 3-3 tie. After Ruiz popped out to left, shortstop Freddy Galvis lined a single to left to score McKenna and give the Orioles a 4-3 lead.
In the ninth, César Valdez, who saved the first two games of the season in Boston last weekend, allowed the tying run when Dalbec beat out a potential game-ending double play ball at first, enabling Gonzalez to score for a 4-4 tie.
“César Valdez has been so good for us,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “He did what he usually does, got ground balls, and they found the holes on a couple of them, and that’s going to happen.”
Notes: Ruiz’s stolen base was just the fourth in 260 major league games. … Bogaerts was not credited with a steal of home but scored on a fielder’s choice. … Mullins is batting .455 with a 1.167 OPS. … The Orioles struck out 10 times, breaking a major league record streak of striking out at least 13 times in five consecutive games.
Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB
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