The Red Sox fell to the Orioles 4-5 Thursday night in a game that was decided by placement over power.
Felix Doubront will be tagged with a bad performance tonight in terms of numbers--four earned runs in 4.2 innings is not impressive, after all, but it's a deceptively bad line for a surprisingly good performance. After having success in the first two innings, Doubront made his one big mistake, allowing a solo shot to Danny Valencia on the second pitch of the frame and giving the Orioles the 1-0 lead.
And that, really, was it for major explosions from the Orioles. The rest...it came down to placement. Like the double from Ryan Flaherty which went about 120 feet, dropping perfectly into No Man's Land well behind third but too far in for Daniel Nava to get to. Or the shattered bat single from Manny Machado, which popped weakly up the middle and into center field. One seeing-eye single to the right side later, and it was a three-run game.
The Red Sox fought back with a couple more convincing swings, as David Ortiz and Mike Carp--in the game for a suddenly ill Mike Napoli--went back-to-back in the top of the fourth. Will Middlebrooks would give one of those runs back in the fifth, however, allowing a ground ball to bounce off his glove and gifting Nick Markakis first base. Markakis would eventually score a fourth run that, given the course of the game, seems awfully big in retrospect.
Boston's final run-scoring rally would come in the seventh, as the Sox loaded the bases with zero outs in the inning before a pair of productive outs--a very long fly ball from Stephen Drew, and a ground ball from Jacoby Ellsbury who narrowly beat out the double play--tied the game.
In the end, though, that would only earn them more innings. Neither team could score again in regulation, and both bullpens provided lockdown performances until the thirteenth, when once again it was the bloops getting the Orioles home. Pitching into his third inning, a tiring Alex Wilson gave up a free pass to Nick Markakis, and rather more solid single to Adam Jones. Still, with two outs, the difference tonight was that Chris Davis' weak fly ball did not go high or far enough, landing in front of Jonny Gomes and leaving the Sox the victims of a walkoff..