It was another frustrating night for Mike Napoli and the Red Sox. (Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Closing Time: Orioles play outstanding defense, shut down Red Sox in 5-2 victory

John Tomase
June 10, 2015 - 5:46 pm
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Perhaps we've been putting too much stock in wins over last place teams. The Red Sox on Wednesday night fell to 13-16 since starting a West Coast swing on May 11. But five of those 13 victories have come at the expense of the A's, the worst team in the American League, and one of the two or three worst in baseball. The Red Sox swept the hapless A's over the weekend in Boston, departing for Baltimore with their first three-game winning streak since the opening road trip in Philadelphia and New York. They also brought with them a sense of momentum that perhaps was misplaced, given the caliber of the competition they had just beaten. That is, of course, easy to say now after a second straight disheartening loss at the hands of the O's. On Tuesday, the offense ruined another tremendous effort from rookie Eduardo Rodriguez in a 1-0 loss. On Tuesday, the offense continued its return to the abyss, while starter Rick Porcello wasn't nearly good enough. With the Orioles chipping away at Porcello for 10 hits and five runs in 5 1/3 innings, the Red Sox needed a big night from their offense to keep pace, but they didn't come anywhere close to getting it. The Sox managed just seven hits off starter Wei-Yin Chen, with Baltimore'€™s defense doing a tremendous job of limiting the damage. The Red Sox had two runners (Xander Bogaerts, Pablo Sandoval) erased at second trying to stretch singles on great outfield plays, and Gold Glove center fielder Adam Jones robbed Mookie Betts of a pair of doubles with leaping and diving catches, respectively. On the flip side, Porcello experienced one of his common problems, allowing the Orioles to answer Red Sox runs with runs of their own in the bottom of third and sixth. He has now allowed runs immediately after the Red Sox scored nine times in 19 chances this year (47.4 percent), and needless to say, that's too high.

"I honestly think I need to stop making so much of a big deal about it, and just go out there and continue to pitch like I've been pitching," Porcello said. "Every time we score a run or whatnot, I start pressing to go out there and put up a zero, and it ends up working against you."
The Orioles struck for two in the second on two-out RBI hits from J.J. Hardy and Ryan Flaherty. They added another in the third on Jones' RBI single. After the Red Sox cut the lead to 3-2 with a gift run in the sixth on Flaherty's lousy double play turn, the Orioles added two more to call it a night. The Red Sox now find themselves back in last place at 27-33, which is probably where they belong, seeing as they're doing most of their damage against fellow cellar dwellers. SWENSON GRANITE WORKS ROCK SOLID PERFORMER OF THE GAME: Orioles center fielder Adam Jones had a pedestrian night at the plate (1-for-4, RBI), but he made his mark on defense, erasing Xander Bogaerts at second on a ball off the wall in the second, and then robbing Mookie Betts twice with tremendous catches. Vote on the Rock Solid Performer of the week and enter to win a VIP Boston Baseball Experience at weei.com/rocksolid. WHAT WENT RIGHT -- Dustin Pedroia continued his torrid hitting out of the leadoff spot, going 2-for-4 with a pair of runs. He now has eight multi-hit games in 18 games atop the order. -- Brock Holt went 2-for-4 to raise his average to .305. -- Relievers Tommy Layne and Alexi Ogando combined to toss 2 2/3 scoreless innings while striking out four. WHAT WENT WRONG -- Porcello allowed the Orioles not only to score first, but to answer Red Sox runs in the top of the third and sixth with runs of their own. -- DH Hanley Ramirez struck out on three pitches -- two check swings --€“ with runners on first and third and no outs in the sixth and then struck out again leading off the ninth. -- First baseman Mike Napoli went 0-for-4 with a pair of strikeouts, dropping his average to .208. -- The Red Sox fell to 10-17 in the AL East. They're the only team with a losing record within the division.
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