BOSTON—The Orioles came into Fenway Park a confident bunch. In each of their first two road series, at Tampa Bay and Detroit, they won two of three games.
Trailing the first place Boston Red Sox by two games, the Orioles took a step back after a nightmarish 12-2 loss before 37,551 on Monday night.
Wade Miley, who pitched the 2015 season for the Red Sox, had never faced them as a visitor, and may not want to again.
Miley (8-13) recorded only four outs and allowed six runs in 1 1/3 innings. In eight starts with the Orioles, he’s given up 33 runs in 35 1/3 innings for a horrifying ERA of 8.41.
After the game, Miley objected to a query about how well he’s pitched with the Orioles.
“Obviously, that’s not really a good question. I mean obviously haven't been really good,” Miley said.
He said he didn’t know what had been holding him back.
“I don’t know. I mean, if I knew I wouldn’t be in this position right now,” Miley said.
Miley, who is signed through next year at $8.917 million with a $12 million option for 2018, delivered his shortest career start.
“He’s struggling a little bit with his delivery, trying to find it. It’s a tough time to be searching for it. It’s there. He just hasn’t been able to get to it and tonight was an example of that. He’s capable of better,” manager Buck Showalter said.
Because of Miley’s ineffectiveness, the Orioles (78-65) fell three games behind Boston (81-62) and dropped a game behind Toronto (79-64) in the wild card battle. The Orioles lead Detroit by a game for the second wild card spot.
The first five Red Sox batters got hits, and all of them scored. Mookie Betts’ two-run double was the big hit.
Fortunately, Miley was able to pick Chris Young off first to end the inning. The five-run first equaled the Orioles worst first.
“I thought I had a pretty good game plan going in but obviously not. Obviously a really good team over there. They swing the bats pretty well, so they got me,” Miley said.
When Miley loaded the bases with one out in the second, manager Buck Showalter had seen enough, and Vance Worley came on.
Worley issued a bases-loaded walk to Hanley Ramirez. Miley allowed six runs on eight hits in 1 1/3 innings. It was the second time Miley didn’t get out of the second inning.
In the embarrassing 15-8 loss to Houston, Miley frittered away a lead that four Orioles home runs in the first five batters provided.
Worley has often saved the day for the Orioles, but this one was too far gone. He allowed three runs, including home runs by Ramirez and Young.
Oliver Drake gave up David Ortiz’s 33rd home run of the season, his 536th lifetime. That ties him with Mickey Mantle on the all-time home run list.
Brian Duensing allowed two runs in the seventh, but Jayson Aquino pitched a perfect eighth.
Showalter knew that Miley didn’t have his best stuff.
“They’re a really good offensive club like we are and they’re going to make you pay for those mistakes. Made a lot of them. Kept hoping he might find his step, but he didn’t. They hit a lot of balls hard and they kind of flip one over first base and you know it’s not going to be his night. He’s not the only one. We had trouble pitching with other people, too,” Showalter said.
David Price (16-8) allowed two runs on home runs to Chris Davis, his 37th in the second and Manny Machado, his 35th, in the fourth. Those were the only hits the Orioles had in Price’s eight innings. He struck out nine and didn’t walk a batter.
“David is pitching as well as anybody in baseball right now. That’s why he can command those types of commitments that they made to him. Tonight’s a good example of how important those guys are. He’s become so much of a pitcher and now his stuff is up to par, too, so you give him really four pitches to work with, it’s a tough proposition,” Showalter said.
The two hits equaled a season low for the Orioles. On May 17, they were held to two hits in a 10-0 loss to Seattle started by none other than Miley.
Steve Pearce, who has been battling a left forearm injury, tweaked it again.
“He’s been doing so well with that forearm issue. We’ll see how he is tomorrow,” Showalter said. “He’s been doing so well with it lately. It’s kind of disappointing that it hit him again,” Showalter said.
NOTE: Dylan Bundy (8-5, 3.82) faces Drew Pomeranz (2-4, 3.97) on Tuesday night.