BOSTON— A very long time ago, a fellow named Rich Hill pitched for the Orioles. It was 2009, and Buck Showalter was still a year away from managing the team.
Hill had a hard time with the Orioles, with a 7.80 ERA in 14 games. For six years, Hill bounced to several organizations, and at times effective reliever.
Recently, the Boston Red Sox rescued Hill from the Independent League Long Island Ducks, and in his latest incarnation, he continued to baffle everyone.
The Orioles were continually befuddled by Hill, and lost 7-0 to the Red Sox before 32,411 at Fenway Park on Friday night.
Hill (2-0) allowed just two hits in pitching his first complete game in nine years, retiring 14 in a row after Nolan Reimold’s leadoff single.
Dariel Alvarez led off the ninth with a leadoff single.
“To get two-hit, yeah, that’s disappointing,” Caleb Joseph said. “We ran into a really good performance. The guy’s a veteran. He knows how to pitch.”
With two outs, Chris Davis nearly had a two-run home run, but Mookie Betts leaped far over the fence to rob Davis and give Hill the shutout.
He struck out 10, including Davis twice. Davis has 199 strikeouts, tying his 2013 club record.
Kevin Gausman allowed five runs in five-plus innings. All three batters who walked, scored.
“When he's had a challenging night, obviously it gets multiplied by how well their guy's pitching. And we just didn't make any adjustments to him. We talked about exactly what he's going to do and he did it. Hats off to him. But Gaus, the walks, he gets two outs and I don't know if it's a concentration thing,” Showalter said.
The Orioles (76-77) had won 11 of 15 and gotten themselves to within 3 ½ games of the wild card with 10 to play.
Now, even the time to dream may be over.
“This was a big game for us and I just kind of let my team down,” Gausman said.
Gausman walked Betts with two outs in the third. Dustin Pedroia singled, and Xander Bogaerts’ RBI double scored Betts. Pedroia was thrown out at the plate by J.J. Hardy’ relay from Steve Pearce.
In the fifth, Brock Holt walked, and later scored on Gausman’s wild pitch.
Gausman (3-7) allowed three more runs in the sixth as Pedroia walked and Bogaerts singled before Ortiz’s two-run double.
“I think I let my ego get the best of me, especially to Big Papi. I tried to throw a fastball by him and if I pull back a bit I probably hit my spot. I tried to throw it by him like the pitch before and like I said, left the pitch was too middle and he’s a future Hall of Famer. You just can’t do that,” Gausman said.
T.J. McFarland allowed an inherited runner to score on Holt’s double to give Boston (73-80) a 5-0 lead.
Gausman’s first two runs came with two outs.
“That’s something that I need to figure out. With two outs, I’ve been killing myself. Two outs, walking a guy and giving up a hit and then bringing up a good hitter, you put yourself in a bad situation. Especially putting that leadoff hitter on, it’s one of those tough things. Definitely frustrated and I’m trying to find the answers and just go forward and try to work harder,” Gausman said.
Showalter expected more out of Gausman.
"He gets out of his delivery for a few pitches and next thing you know he's painted himself in a corner. He's got 40 pitches almost after two innings and he really takes away some nights where he could go a lot deeper if he could economize some of that stuff,” Showalter said.
“When he has done it sometimes when he's followed [pitching coach Dave Wallace’s] lead on a couple things, but he gets away from it and just goes into power pitching and that doesn't always work up here."
Brian Matusz, who normally owns Ortiz, was brought in to face him after Bogaerts led off the eighth with a single off Jason Garcia. Ortiz doubled off Matusz, his third of the game, to make it 6-0. Holt’s infield single scored pinchrunner Josh Rutledge.
“Yeah, it’s disappointing. We still feel good. If we go in here and win the next two, you never know what could happen. Yeah, we’ve just got to keep showing up at the park and winning every game. We can’t throw the towel in now just because we lose. There’s still a chance,” Joseph said.
NOTES: The Orioles were shut out for the 10th time. …Wei-Yin Chen (10-7, 3.36) starts on Saturday against Craig Breslow (0-3, 4.53). Breslow will be making his first start after 522 major league relief appearances.
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