BOSTON – For five innings, Bud Norris allowed no runs and just three hits to the Boston Red Sox.
The sixth inning was a different, and very ugly story. By the time it was over, the Red Sox scored five unearned runs off Norris, and were on their way to a 5-1 win over the Orioles before 37,762 at Fenway Park on Wednesday night.
In the bottom of the sixth, Alejandro De Aza bounced one to first base. Chris Davis’ error allowed him to reach, and he moved to second on a passed ball by Caleb Joseph. Sandy Leon bunted, and Norris couldn’t handle it for an error.
“I don’t think you can pitch a better five innings than Bud pitched. I think that’s probably his best string in a row. He’s had some good stretches,” manager Buck Showalter said.
“We got a ball that I think broke Chris’ glove and Bud’s one of our best fielding pitchers. I haven’t looked at it, probably started over there and assumed he’s going to go to the bag. Didn’t get there again. De Aza runs pretty well. Then, the bunt. He’s trying to make a real good play there and get an out and I think Manny [Machado] respects his athleticism and seen Bud make plays like that and get plays at third for the out.”
With runners on first and third, Mookie Betts’ single scored De Aza. Brock Holt’s ground out moved runners to second and third. Both scored on Dustin Pedroia’s single to left, and Boston led 3-1.
David Ortiz hit his 11th home run of the year to center, and suddenly the Red Sox (32-41) had a 5-1 lead.
“It kind of unraveled, and we gave in there a little bit to Ortiz,” Showalter said.
Norris (2-6) worked 5 2/3 innings, allowing five unearned runs on seven hits.
The biggest play was the error on Davis.
“I saw it right in the middle of his chest and he usually calls me off,” Norris said. “Unfortunately he botched it and I saw it and stutter stepped and unfortunately stepped right on De Aza’s hand, which I felt really bad about. It changes that whole inning. Leon doesn’t bunt, I missed that play too. Costly errors, and they got the top half of their lineup with runners on base. So, it’s frustrating. But I felt good and definitely making some strides to getting back to where I was last year.”
Davis exchanged gloves later in the inning and described the play.
“Missed tackle. Ball went through my glove, broke the web and De Aza obviously runs well and he was able to beat it out,” Davis said.
He didn’t consider running to the base himself.
“No not at that point. It kind of surprised me. I felt it go in my web and made a move to the bag and then looked back and the ball was on the ground, so I didn’t have enough time right there to think. You just have to get an out,” Davis said.
The Orioles took a 1-0 lead in the top of the sixth. Chris Parmelee led off with a double to left off Clay Buchholiz (5-6), and with one out, Davis’ bloop fall just in front of Betts in center. Parmelee took off and correctly read it and scored just ahead of Betts’ throw home.
The Orioles (37-34) had two hits and a walk in the first, but didn’t score because Machado was thrown out trying to steal.
In the seventh, Ryan Flaherty led off with a double, but never scored.
“We had a man on second, nobody out. That’s one we’ve got to push across,” Showalter said.
Buchholz allowed one run on eight hits in seven innings. Junichi Tazawa struck out Parmelee, Jimmy Paredes and Davis in the eighth.
Brian Matusz pitched a scoreless 1 2/3 innings in relief of Norris.
Mychal Givens made his long-awaited debut in the eighth, and quickly retired the side in order.
“My heart was pounding a little bit, but after the first pitch it went away. I just wanted to treat it like any other game, but just go out there and live in the moment,” Givens said. “It felt like a long time, but I had to sit back and wait for my name to be called.”
Koji Uehara worked the ninth for his 15th save.
NOTES: Givens is the 999th player to play for the Orioles. …It was the second time this season a pitcher allowed five unearned runs in a Fenway Park start. Wei-Yin Chen did it on Apr. 20. … Miguel Gonzalez (5-4, 3.33) comes off the disabled list to face Eduardo Rodriguez (3-1, 3.13) on Thursday afternoon at 1:35 p.m.