BALTIMORE – The Orioles can console themselves that there are still nine games left. Yes, they’re still in the race for the American League wild-card, though they’re going to have to play much better than they did in the four games just past.
The Boston Red Sox are on their way to the American League East title after a four-game sweep of the Orioles, their first here in exactly 14 years. The Orioles scored eight runs in five games and lost on Thursday, 5-3 before 26,788 at Oriole Park.
The Orioles (82-71) have lost six of eight in this crucial homestand. They’re seven games behind Boston (89-64) and have fallen out of the second wild card.
Not only do they trail Toronto by 1 ½ games, but for the first time this season, they’re a half-game behind Detroit, which won a doubleheader in Minnesota.
The Orioles have three three-game series with Arizona beginning on Friday night, and a six-game road trip next week to Toronto and New York.
They’ll need to win almost all of them.
“Believe it or not, we’re still in the hunt for the playoffs. The way people make it seem sometimes it feels like we’re 40 games under .500. That’s not the case. Disappointing? Absolutely. But we didn’t put the last nail in our own coffin or anything,” Caleb Joseph said.
“We’re gonna show up, we’re gonna give the D’backs everything we have the next three games. If we win three in a row, now we’re back maybe where we want to be. We still control our own destiny and that’s the main thing. Disappointing to lose four in a row? Sure. But nobody’s feeling sorry for us, or nobody’s hanging their head around here.”
Chris Tillman had his shortest start of the season and didn’t make it out of the second.
In the first, Mookie Betts, who was 19-for-37 (.514) here this year, singled with two outs. Tillman walked David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez singled to center for a run.
Jackie Bradley, Jr. led off the second with a triple and scored on Sandy Leon’s single to right. With two outs, Brock Holt singled, and Betts walked to load the bases. After Ortiz walked to score Leon, Vance Worley relieved Tillman who allowed three runs on five hits in 1 2/3 innings, walking three.
“I was just mechanically bad tonight. The more I tried to make an adjustment, the worse it kind of got for me. I just couldn’t hit on consistent basics. I’d hit one and then miss three. It wasn’t good. Command was bad from the get-go. I was never able to find it,” Tillman said.
Tillman threw 63 pitches, and manager Buck Showalter said that even earlier in the season, he wouldn’t have let Tillman try and work his way out of trouble.
“Probably not because he had 60-something pitches in 1 2/3 innings. That’s not good business. That’s just not a good risk reward for someone. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like that type of challenge on an arm. Regardless of what time of year it is, I don’t’ like doing that,” Showalter said.
Worley had an uneven performance, allowing just one hit in 3 1/3 innings, but it was costly. Andrew Benintendi’s RBI single scored Travis Shaw who walked to start the fifth.
Worley (2-2) walked four and threw two wild pitches.
Ortiz, who showed disdain for the mounted broken dugout phone presented him before the game, was 1-for-3 with two walks, in his final game.
David Price (17-8) didn’t come close to equaling his masterful performance of Sept. 12 when he allowed two hits in eight innings, but he got through seven allowing three runs on six hits.
Price’s roughest inning came in the third when Trey Mancini became the first Oriole to homer in his first two starts. Mancini’s three-run home run, tied the score at 3.
Mancini led off the sixth with a double to right, but he stayed there when Jonathan Schoop grounded to third, J.J. Hardy flied to center and Drew Stubbs struck out.
Hanley Ramirez’s home run off Donnie Hart in the seventh gave Boston a 5-3 lead and ended his scoreless streak. Hart hadn’t allowed a run in his first 18 games and 15 1/3 innings.
Koji Uehara pitched a hitless eighth and Craig Kimbrel earned his 29th save in the ninth with a perfect inning.
Showalter said he thinks his team will rebound.
“It’s all about riding the good times and shortening up the bad times as much as you can and we are going to try to shorten this one up starting tomorrow,” Showalter said.
NOTE: The Diamondbacks play in Baltimore for the first time since 2007 this weekend. Shelby Miller (2-12, 6.90) faces Yovani Gallardo (5-8, 5.77).
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