The last time the Red Sox won was Thursday, March 17. With a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning Sunday, all they had to do to finally snap their skid was hold the Orioles off the board for a couple of innings.
No such luck.
A string of eighth inning singles--five in all--off of minor league reliever Santo Luis sealed the deal on the Sox' ten game streak, leaving them with a 4-3 loss to the Orioles.
For much of the game, though, this seemed like the Sox were finally going to get the job done. J.D. Drew provided Boston with an early lead, taking Scott Tillman deep to left to open the scoring in the top of the third inning. All-in-all, the Sox' offense wasn't too bad today despite being filled with backups. Jacoby Ellsbury's 0-for-4 performance wasn't what we've come to expect from him this spring, but otherwise the regulars put together a strong performance, weighed down more by a lack of clutch hits and just general bad timing than actual struggles at the plate.
Matt Albers, who appears to have earned a spot on the team with a spring training devoid of his old struggles with the free pass, found himself falling into his old bad habits against his former team. A pair of walks in the bottom of the third allowed the Orioles to cut the Sox' lead down to one quickly, but they were held to just the one run by a combination of Sox relievers including Dennys Reyes through the seventh inning.
But then came the eighth, and with it, Santo Luis. Entering the game with a 3-1 lead, Luis, backed by the replacement fielders, was entirely too hittable. Giving up base hits to Luke Scott, Adam Jones, and Mark Reynolds to lead off the inning, Luis would have had to be nearly perfect to escape the frame with a tie. Instead, he gave up another single to Matt Wieters to tie the game, and then a final one to Ryan Adams to give the Orioles the final 4-3 lead before being yanked from the game.
When the Red Sox lose a spring training game due to a minor league reliever playing in front of a minor league defense, there's no real knowledge to be gleaned regarding the regular season. But despite all that, at this point, every loss hurts. We're at ten straight, and counting. I don't know about you, but I could certainly use a win one of these days.
The Regulars: The few starters who came to town had a pretty good day on-the-whole. Marco Scutaro, J.D. Drew, and David Ortiz each reached base multiple times, while Drew, of course, added his second homer of Spring.
Bullpen Hopefuls: Matt Albers' first two walks of spring weren't exactly impressive, while Dennys Reyes allowed another leadoff man to reach. At this point, Terry Francona's mind is likely made up, but these outings couldn't have helped anything.
Santo Luis: We really wanted that win, Mr. Luis. Why? Why? Why?