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Orioles fall to Mookie Betts' three homers and Red Sox

Orioles fall to Mookie Betts' three homers and Red Sox

BALTIMORE—The Orioles have lost seven of nine, and it didn’t help that Mookie Betts had the best night of his career on Tuesday night.

The Boston Red Sox right fielder slugged three home runs, driving in five runs as Boston beat the Orioles 6-2 before 17,664 at Oriole Park. 

Boston (32-20) has won the first two games of the four-game series and leads the Orioles (28-22) by three in the AL East. 

It was the first three home run night of Betts’ career, and the first time an opponent had hit three in Baltimore since Ryan Zimmerman did it on May 29, 2013. 

Betts, who now has 12 home runs this season, hit two off Kevin Gausman and the third off Dylan Bundy. 

Gausman (0-3) allowed home runs to the first two Boston batters, Betts and Dustin Pedroia. 

It was the first time an Orioles pitcher had allowed two home runs to start a game since June 14, 2006 when Rodrigo Lopez did it in Toronto, and it hadn’t been done at home in 20 years. 

Betts hit a three-run home run in the second inning, and Gausman was abruptly behind 5-0. 

“It's frustrating definitely. You just try to take it pitch by pitch after that. The biggest thing is just trying to stay in there as long as you can and give your team a chance to win. Just take it pitch by pitch, 
try to get groundballs and quick outs,” Gausman said. 

Eduardo Rodriguez, who the Orioles traded for Andrew Miller in July 2014, started his first game of 2016. 

Rodriguez (1-0), who had been out with a knee injury, gave up a run on a single to Joey Rickard in the third and a two-out double by Nolan Reimold. 

Manny Machado nearly drove in Reimold, but his long fly ball to deep center was caught by Boston center fielder Chris Young, whose leap robbed Machado of at least a double—and maybe more. 

Paul Janish led off the fifth with a double to right and scored on Adam Jones’ single to cut Boston’s lead to 5-2. 

Gausman threw 113 pitches, the most he’s thrown in his career, and managed to make it through six innings. He didn’t allow a hit in his final 3 1/3 innings. 

Bundy came on to start the seventh, and with one out, Betts hit his third home run.

The Red Sox had some help. Janish was robbed of a hit to end the seventh when Betts dove in to snatch the ball. 

“I’m thinking to myself, ‘Mookie is having a pretty good night. I can do without him adding to it with that catch, right?’ He’s one of the better young players in the game obviously. At this juncture in time, I could use the hit,” Janish said. 

Janish says there’s no easy explanation for the Orioles’ rough patch.

“It’s one of those where I don’t think there’s anything in particular to pinpoint. As quickly as the game goes the other way, it can go our way, too, and that’s we’re waiting for, and we look forward to that happening sooner or later,” Janish said. 

Chris Davis, who hasn’t hit a home run since May 20, thought he hit a two-run shot in the eighth that would have cut the deficit from four runs to two. 

First base umpire Doug Eddings called the ball foul. First base coach Wayne Kirby immediately signaled it was a home run, but after a review, the call stood.

“Chris hits a home run and we can’t get a camera angle that will show it. We finally got one that showed it was fair,” manager Buck Showalter said. 

“So those are some of those things that you present for yourself that matter a lot when you get into some deficits early. You’ve got to stay away from that kind of, I don’t want to say that ‘here we go again’ mentality, but certainly that something where you follow a pattern for a few games early in the game and it challenges you.”

The Orioles need to win Wednesday and Thursday to salvage a split. 

“It's pretty obvious that we're struggling right now, but hopefully we can turn around and even this series up. They're the best team in baseball right now, so you have to be on your game. If you're not, it's tough against this team, against this lineup, against their bullpen. Their starters are pitching well too right now, so it kind of seems like everything's clicking for them right now,” Gausman said. 

NOTES: Yovani Gallardo will start the first game of Thursday’s doubleheader at Frederick. Game time is 5 p.m. … Joe Kelly (2-0, 6.30) faces Mike Wright (2-3, 5.05) on Wednesday night.  

 

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

Buck Showalter has been fired as manager of the Orioles, who made three playoff appearances under his guidance but this year staggered through the worst season since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Showalter confirmed the dismissal Wednesday in a text message to The Associated Press.

A three-time AL Manager of the Year, Showalter ranks second on the Orioles' career list with 669 victories, trailing Earl Weaver. He took over in August 2010 and orchestrated the resurgence of a team that suffered through 14 straight losing seasons.

Once hailed for making baseball in Baltimore relevant again, the 62-year-old Showalter is out of a job after a season in which the Orioles finished 47-115, 61 games behind Boston in the AL East. His contract expired at the end of October, and the Orioles opted against a renewal as they continue a major rebuild that began in late July, when they traded stars Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman for minor league prospects.

Those deals were made by Dan Duquette, the executive vice president of baseball operations, whose future with the organization is up in the air.

Showalter earned AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014 after taking the Orioles to the AL East title and a berth in the Championship Series. He was also named Manager of Year with the Yankees in 1994 and Texas in 2004. His career record is 1,551-1,517, including 669-684 with Baltimore.

"I just think ever since he came here, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said before the final game of the season. "It's the end of an era. A great manager, a great tenure. I don't know if he's going to coach or manage again, but he's got grandchildren. Go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course."

With his future in doubt, Showalter appeared undaunted during the final series of the regular season.

"You know how good they've been to me? I'm not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens," he said.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was asked before his team's playoff game against the Yankees on Wednesday night whether Showalter was victimized by the trend toward analytics.

"I don't think Buck was a guy that ignored analytics," Melvin said. "I think it was probably a combination of how they did this year and maybe some relationships."

After the Orioles brought Showalter out of retirement, he offered renewed hope by fashioning a 34-23 finish in 2010 for a team that was 32-73 upon his arrival.

Baltimore ended a 14-year playoff drought in 2012, advancing to the AL Division Series following a victory over Texas in the wild-card game. Playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016 followed.

Last year, however, the Orioles fell to 75-87 after losing 19 of their final 23 games. Baltimore hoped the addition of starters Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner would enable the team to be a contender this year, but a horrid start quickly dispelled that notion.

The Orioles' deficit in the AL East reached double digits by April 18 and they were 8-27 on May 8. By the end of July, Baltimore fully entered rebuilding mode, leaving Showalter with the dubious distinction of overseeing a team that finished with the poorest record in the majors and one that surpassed the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most losses in franchise history.

Showalter never offered an excuse. He just grinded forward, working to prepare the team for 2019 even though he knew he might not be around to follow through.

At the outset of a season-ending series against Houston, Showalter was asked if he was thinking these might be his final days in the Baltimore dugout.

"We all have some private thoughts and emotions about that, but I don't think it serves the organization well for me to be worried about that right now," he said. "We've got some things to do these last four games that need to get done."

Showalter has a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but his players appreciated his baseball knowledge and skill at handling a team. He made a point of talking to each of them on a regular basis, almost always offering encouragement.

"He gave me a chance," said catcher Caleb Joseph, who played six-plus years in the minors before arriving in Baltimore. "He believed in me in 2014, ran me out there and gave me a chance to be part of a championship team. He's really vouched for me ever since. I owe a lot to Buck and his loyalty. He's been a main figure here for a long time."

Sensing the end was near for the only big league manager he had ever played for, first baseman Trey Mancini said: "It's been an absolute honor to play for Buck. He's been incredible."

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

The Boston Red Sox broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory on Monday night, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason by beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.

Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Orioles batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and mostly likely Oakland.

The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.

The Orioles (45-111) became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60 games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It's the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.

Boston scored four in the second inning, getting back-to-back doubles from Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, an RBI single from Christian Vazquez and Betts' two-run homer over the Green Monster. It was the 32nd homer of the season for Betts, a new career high.

Betts also singled and scored in Boston's two-run fourth, moving him into the major-league lead with 125 runs scored. In his last three games, he is 10 for 16 with three homers and four doubles, and he leads teammate J.D. Martinez (.328) in the AL batting race.

Renato Nunez had three hits for the Orioles, who fell to 2-15 against Boston and 18-61 on the road this season.

FOR STARTERS

Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.

Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Yefrey Ramirez is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give him an extra day or two. "I think Yefrey will pitch again, I just don't know when," Showalter said.

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after feeling soreness in his left shoulder during a swing and leaving Sunday night's game. ... INF Eduardo Nunez ran on Sunday to test his hamstring and was scheduled to run again on Monday with the goal of having him back in the lineup by Wednesday or Friday.

UP NEXT

LHP David Price (15-7) tries to bounce back from a rough start in Yankee Stadium in the second game of the series in what could be his last start of the regular season.