Jackie Bradley can only watch Matt Wieters' two-run homer on Thursday. (Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

Closing Time: Eduardo Rodriguez implodes spectacularly in 8-6 loss to Orioles

John Tomase
June 25, 2015 - 12:42 pm

For one afternoon, anyway, the Red Sox could add Eduardo Rodriguez to their list of problems. The rookie left-hander, so good en route to a 3-1 start, encountered his second speed bump of the season on Thursday against the Orioles. Perfect into the fourth, Rodriguez promptly imploded, allowing six runs on seven hits before being yanked with two outs. The Red Sox did their best to climb out of the hole, but without Dustin Pedroia and Hanley Ramirez, their efforts came up just short in an 8-6 loss. Rodriguez was the story of this one. He blew the Orioles away with fastballs over the first three innings, striking out five. But after allowing a one-out double to Chris Parmalee in the fourth, Rodriguez threw away a Nolan Reimold dribbler, opening the floodgates. The Orioles followed with five more hits and a sacrifice fly before Rodriguez's afternoon came to an abrupt end. Catcher Matt Wieters struck the big blow, ripping a two-run homer into the bullpen. J.J. Hardy's two-run double then blew things open. Orioles hitters clearly found the range on Rodriguez's fastball in the fourth, sitting on his heater, and the rookie failed to adjust. On the same day the Red Sox shipped inconsistent right-hander Joe Kelly to Triple-A Pawtucket, Rodriguez was expected to follow a strong outing from Clay Buchholz with one of his own. Instead, he provided a follow-up to his recent bad start against the Blue Jays, when he suffered a similar fourth inning meltdown. In that one, the Jays struck for five hits and six runs, including a Ryan Goins home run. This one was worse, with every Orioles hit except Reimold's well-struck. The Red Sox tried to make a game of it anyway, answering with an Alejandro De Aza three-run homer in the fourth and adding two more in the seventh, though they got no closer. The Red Sox began the game by placing Pedroia on the disabled list (hamstring) and with Ramirez (hand) on the bench. PLAYER OF THE GAME: Orioles catcher Matt Wieters turned on a Rodriguez offering for a two-run homer that broke a 1-1 tie. He also added a single. WHAT WENT RIGHT -- First baseman Mike Napoli snapped a stretch of six straight strikeouts with a bloop double and line single. He scored two runs, was hit by a pitch, and raised his average back over .200. -- Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. ended an 0-for-30 slump dating back to last season by beating out an infield single and finished with two hits. He also threw out a run at the plate to end the top of the ninth. -- Outfielder Alejandro De Aza ripped a three-run homer around Pesky's Pole in the fourth to help get back half of the runs the Red Sox allowed in the top of the frame. -- Catcher Blake Swihart returned from a sprained ankle to go 2-for-4 and boost his average to .248. -- Shortstop Xander Bogaerts went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles, raising his average to .294. It really wasn't a bad day for the offense at all. WHAT WENT WRONG -- Starter Eduardo Rodriguez took a perfect game into the fourth, but didn't even finish the frame, allowing seven hits and six runs and seeing his ERA climb to 4.33. -- DH David Ortiz went 0-for-4 and left a pair of runners on base. -- Relievers Tommy Layne and Jonathan Aro, the latter making his big league debut, each allowed runs in an inning of work, preventing the Red Sox from coming all the way back. -- Red Sox pitching allowed the Orioles to pound out 14 hits.