BOSTON - First impressions from the Red Sox' 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles:
It was hard to find too much fault with David Price's start. But...
For the second time in the last two starts, Price was very good. But for the second time in those starts, he allowed two homers -- including one in the eighth inning both times -- that cost his team the game.
In the first inning, Manny Machado placed a ball just beyond the right field foul pole. It wasn't particularly well-hit, but with Joey Rikard aboard, it waa enough for a 2-0 lead.
Price then retired the next 19 in a row and dominated a good Orioles' lineup. But in the eighth, he made a mistake with a cutter and Jonathan Schoop hit it over everything, padding the O's lead to 3-1.
It hasn't helped that Price has drawn two top starters as his last two opponents: Madison Bumgarner and Chris Tillman. But a true ace is expected to win the majority of those matchups and Price is 0-2.
There wasn't much progress shown by Travis Shaw, but a little for Hanley Ramirez.
Both hitters are slumping, Shaw enough to warrant being dropped to eighth in the Red Sox' batting order.
Ramirez had a walk in his first trip and hit the ball hard in the seventh, an opposite-field line drive that was hauled in in right field by Mark Trumbo. He later contributed a sharp single up the middle to score the Red Sox second run off a 99 mph fastball from Zach Britton. So, some encouraging signs for Ramirez.
As for Shaw, he too drew a walk in his first plate appearance. He later reached on an infield single -- a chopper just over the second-base bag -- but it wasn't hard hit or any proof that he's begun the process of coming out of his skid.
In the ninth, due against lefty closer Zach Britton, John Farrell decided to send up Josh Rutledge to hit for him.
Craig Kimbrel finally got into a game.
Kimbrel last pitched a week ago, in the opener of the series in San Francisco. Thanks to some blowouts, and, on Sunday, John Farrell's decision not to use his closer in a tie game on the road, he sat for the remainder of the trip.
But if Kimbrel was dealing with any mound rust, it wasn't in evidence Tuesday night. His fastball was a lively 98 mph and he commanded it well, and he fanned two of the three hitters he faced while recording another out on a soft infield pop-up.