The Red Sox fell to the Orioles 4-0 Monday night in a game decided by double plays.
The theme for the game was set in a hurry, with Mookie Betts reaching base in the bottom of the first, and then immediately being erased by Dustin Pedroia grounding into the first double play of the game. That David Ortiz and Yoenis Cespedes reached base afterwards served to highlight the missed opportunity, but not to give the Red Sox a run, as Mike Napoli flew out to end the inning.
Joe Kelly managed to minimize the damage in a rough top of the second which saw the Orioles put together three straight singles to start the frame, putting a run on the board but no more as Kelly struck out Caleb Joseph and got ground outs from Ryan Flaherty and Jonathan Schoop, but with the Red Sox stranding another baserunner in the bottom of the inning, the Orioles took a 1-0 lead into the third.
Neither side would score over the next few innings, but the fourth saw the Red Sox put another leadoff baserunner on and subsequently hit into another double play, Mike Napoli providing the ground ball at fault this time. It was exactly that sort of play which might have saved the Red Sox runs in the top of the sixth, had they managed to turn it. Once again, Kelly would allow the first three batters of the frame to reach, this time on only one single to go with a walk and hit batter. As in the second, Kelly's first out would come by way of a Caleb Joseph strikeout, and as in the second, his second came on a ground ball to Mike Napoli, who fired to second for the out. This time, though, Xander Bogaerts' return throw bounced in, and Napoli could not scoop it. Instead of turning an inning-ending double play, the Red Sox saw two runs come across to score, leaving them behind 3-0.
Of course, the Red Sox then proceeded to rub it in by repeating their performance from the first and fourth innings: leadoff baserunner, then a quick double play. As always, there is an element of art to their losses.
Perhaps relying on Joe Kelly for too many pitches, John Farrell let the young righty reach a career-high 120 before he was pulled in the seventh, with another run coming across in the process to make it 4-0. Finally, in the bottom of the seventh, the Red Sox seemed to have the ground balls going their way, with three straight finding their way through for singles with one out to load the bases. But Tommy Hunter came in to relieve Miguel Gonzalez, and quickly struck both Will Middlebrooks and David Ross out, leaving the rally dead in its tracks. The Red Sox saw another, quicker rally fall by the wayside in the eighth, and could do nothing against Ryan Webb in the ninth, leaving them victims of yet another shutout.