Okay, so maybe they made themselves work for it. Either way. Mandatory Credit: Mark L. Baer-US PRESSWIRE
The Red Sox made the Orioles work for it this time, but once again it was Baltimore who came out on top. One loss better for draft position, one win for the Orioles in their race against the Yankees, and more nails in Alfredo Aceves' proverbial coffin.
Aaron Cook lived down to expectations, allowing constant baserunners early, putting two runs on the board in the first two before the big swings started to come. A homer made it three runs by the fourth, and a single and double in the sixth came before out number two and chased him from the game. Both runners would score, making it five runs in 5.1 innings.
What made it tough was that the Sox bats just weren't staying quiet. Dustin Pedroia and Ryan Lavarnway pushed across a run in the bottom of the first, Danny Valencia--Danny Valencia!--hit an absolute moonshot in the fourth to tie it at 3-3, and while the Orioles were able to hang on a lead for a while in the second half, bad defense cost them two in the seventh and a tying run in the eighth, sending the game to extra innings.
The good news is that the bullpen failure did not come thanks to players who will matter for 2013. Junichi Tazawa was his usual amazing self, complete with his customary two strikeouts. Andrew Bailey had a 1-2-3 inning as well, and even Mark Melancon looked solid. The awful inning came from, predictably, Alfredo Aceves, who was his usual level of awful, right down to the chilly handoff with Bobby V.
Next year, when the games actually count, both of them will be gone, and we can count this game as just one part of the larger effort contributing to their departure. Let that be the legacy.