BOSTON—The Orioles were able to delay the inevitable for a night with a comeback win against the Yankees, but the Boston Red Sox handed them their 100th loss on Friday night in a game in which Baltimore showed little fight.
It marked the third time in four seasons that the Orioles have lost at least 100 games, with the 60-game 2020 season not counting in that run. They have 15 more games to play before the season ends on October 3rd.
Boston’s 7-1 win before an announced crowd of 29,811 at Fenway Park was the Orioles’ 10th loss in 14 games to the Red Sox in 2021.
The Orioles lost 100 in 1954, their first season in Baltimore, in a 154-game season. They didn’t lose 100 again until 1988 when they dropped the first 21 games and finished 54-107.
In 2018, they set a franchise record with 115 losses. In 2019, the first for general manager Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde, they were 54-108.
“It’s been a tough year,” Hyde said. “We haven’t won many games. It’s been a tough year in a lot of ways. Hopefully, going forward, we’ll win more games than we won this year.”
Oriole starter Keegan Akin, whose solid showing last September was considered one of the signs that the team would be better this year, lost for the 10th time.
“He had a tough time putting away their hitters,” Hyde said. “He pitched into the fifth inning, no strikeouts, a lot of foul ball wars. It wasn’t sharp for me … the offspeed stuff, he had trouble landing it. Got to two strikes on a lot of hitters but didn’t have the weapons to put guys away with tonight. Just didn’t think he had his best stuff.”
Late last month, Akin recorded two consecutive wins after losing eight straight. On September 11th, Akin pitched six no-hit innings against Toronto before he allowed three of the 11 runs the team surrendered in a disastrous seventh inning.
Akin said he wasn’t aware that this loss was a significant one.
“I don’t really think it’s at the top of our minds right now,” he said. “No one’s really talking about it. I didn’t find out until after I came out of the game it could have been the 100th loss. Everybody comes in here and it’s not really a priority … try and finish strong.”
Against the Red Sox (84-65), who are involved in a mad scramble with the Blue Jays and Yankess for the two American League wild-card spots, Akin (2-10) allowed four runs on six hits in four-plus innings. He walked three.
“I feel like since the All-Star break there’s been a couple of rough outings, but for the most part, I came back and strung some good ones together,” Akin said. “Just grinding through these last couple of outings, and I’ll really try to step on the gas and finish strong.”
Boston scored two runs in the second on an RBI double by former Orioles shortstop José Iglesias and a sacrifice fly by Kiké Hernandez. Bobby Dalbec hit his 23rd home run in the fourth.
Chris Sale (4-0), who hadn’t pitched since September 6th because he was on the Covid-19 injured list, gave up a leadoff single to Cedric Mullins in the first and Austin Hays’ 21st home run in the second.
After Hays’ homer, Sale retired 11 straight batters before walking Ryan McKenna with two outs in the fifth. He struck out one before he was lifted after five.
Dusten Knight, recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Norfolk, allowed Hunter Renfroe’s three-run double in the sixth while recording just one out.
For Boston, Garrett Whitlock, Hirokazu Sawamura, Matt Barnes and Martin Perez pitched four shutout innings, giving up just two hits.
“It was not a great night for us,” Hyde said. “We had four hits … It was pretty empty for us offensively as well.”
Notes: Trey Mancini (sore oblique) and Pedro Severino (upper leg/groin soreness) returned to the lineup after missing two games. They were hitless in seven at-bats. … Cal Ripken Jr., whose home run record as an Oriole rookie, 28, was broken when Ryan Mountcastle hit his 29th on Thursday night, responded on Twitter: “Congratulations to Ryan on setting the new O’s rookie home run record. He’s a dynamic player. I wish him nothing but the best and excited to watch him in the years to come. All Orioles fans should be excited that he’s on our team.”
Second baseman Jahmai Jones, who was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after Thursday night’s game to make room for Knight, needs to play more, Hyde said. Because of Ramón Urías’ nagging upper leg injury, Hyde is trying to play him more at second base than at shortstop, leaving little playing time for Jones at second. Hyde said the team wanted Jones to get regular at-bats in Norfolk. … Zac Lowther (0-2, 9.92 ERA) will face Nick Pivetta (9-7, 4.55) on Saturday. The game will begin at 1:10 p.m. … The Arizona Diamondbacks also lost their 100th game on Friday night.
Minor league update: Drew Rom threw five perfect innings as Double-A Bowie beat Altoona, 3-1. The Baysox are a win away from clinching a playoff berth. Rom (3-1) struck out five. Tyler Burch pitched a perfect sixth before Ryan Conroy allowed an unearned run in the eighth.
The Curve, which had just two hits, committed five errors. Third baseman Patrick Dorrian hit a two-run home run, his 21st.
Rightfielder Kyle Stowers’ 10th-inning RBI single lifted Norfolk over the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, 4-3. The Tides scored two runs in the 10th. Kyle Bradish started and allowed an unearned run on four hits in five innings. He struck out eight without walking a batter.
Paul Fry pitched a spotless sixth, striking out two. Second baseman Rylan Bannon hit his 15th home run.
Zach Peek, Adam Stauffer and Garrett Farmer combined on a four-hitter as High-A Aberdeen beat Greenville, 1-0. Peek (4-0) allowed two hits in five innings, walking two and striking out six. First baseman TT Bowens hit his fourth home run in the fourth inning.
Third baseman Coby Mayo drove in four runs with a home run and double as Low-A Delmarva beat Salem, 13-4. Mayo hit his fifth home run and first baseman Jacob Teter, who had three RBIs, hit his third homer, a two-run shot. Colton Cowser, the team’s top draft pick this year, had three hits and drove in three.