Closing Time: Poor pitching and defense leads to Red Sox falling to Orioles in nightcap

July 05, 2014 - 6:54 pm

The Red Sox continue to find creative ways to lose games. After starter John Lackey allowed two runs in the top of the fourth inning, the Red Sox offense responded in a big way, scoring four runs to take the lead in the bottom of the inning. Considering how well Lackey has pitched in 2014 and the strength of the Red Sox bullpen, it seemed feasible that the team could hold the lead to sweep the doubleheader. Nope. The Orioles responded in the fifth inning by scoring a run and in a bigger way by putting up four of their own in the sixth inning. Through a series of subpar pitching performances from both Lackey, Burke Badenhop and defensive miscues, the Red Sox kicked away the lead and ultimately ending where they started the day, seven games out of the American League East. Following the Orioles' top of the sixth, the Red Sox were unable to score, mustering up no hits and looking confused at the plate against the Baltimore bullpen. The loss brings the Red Sox record to 39-48. Through their first 87 games in 2013 the Red Sox were 53-34. Here is what went wrong (and right) for the Red Sox Saturday night: WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE RED SOX -- John Lackey did not look his best against the Orioles, going 5 1/3 innings and allowing 10 hits, five runs, one walk, two home runs, while striking out 11. Lackey threw 83 of his 120 pitches for strikes (69.1 percent). In his last three starts, Lackey has allowed 16 runs in 14 innings pitched (10.29 ERA). Nick Hundley hit a deep home run to center field off of Lackey in the fourth inning on a 91 mph fastball. Lackey has struggled in his last two starts preventing the long ball. In his last start against the Yankees, Lackey allowed two home runs in five innings pitched. In his start against the Mariners on June 23, Lackey gave up a home run in 3 2/3 innings pitched. Nelson Cruz had a monster night with a career-high five hits -- two singles, two doubles and and a mammoth home run over the Green Monster. Cruz was thrown out in the eighth inning at third base going for the cycle when he hit a ball over the head of Daniel Nava that rolled into the right field corner. In his career, Cruz is hitting .335/.410/.665 in 51 games with 15 home runs, 42 RBIs, 11 doubles, two triples and ten steals against the Red Sox. -- Mookie Betts made a bad baserunning blunder in the fourth inning costing the Red Sox a run when he tried to advance to second base on a overthrow of the cutoff man. Betts was tagged out at second. Brock Holt followed with a double off the Green Monster and then a Daniel Nava RBI single. -- Defensive miscues continued in Game 2 after committing three errors in Game 1. Daniel Nava booted a routine single to right field by Adam Jones, allowing Nick Markakis to score and Steve Pearce to advance to third base. The error was the Red Sox' fifth error of the day, including the three miscues from the day portion of the doubleheader. Mike Napoli made an error at first base earlier in the game. -- Burke Badenhop had his worst outing of the season, allowing three hits and two runs while not recording an out. Badenhop has not allowed more than two runs since April 8, when he allowed four runs on five hits in 2 1/3 innings pitched. WHAT WENT RIGHT FOR THE RED SOX -- Stephen Drew hit his second home run of the doubleheader, a two-run blast in the fourth inning off Ubaldo Jimenez. The last time that Drew hit multiple home runs in one day was July 27, 2013. Ironically, Drew hit the two homers against Orioles righties Scott Feldman and Troy Patton. -- Tommy Layne made his Red Sox debut and his first major league appearance since September 27, 2013 when he was with the San Diego Padres. The 29-year-old pitched two-thirds of an inning in relief, allowing one walk and no runs.