The Orioles completed their sweep of the Red Sox Thursday night, homering three times off Wade Miley in a one-run game that didn't feel anywhere near that close.
For Miley, there seems to be something about the Orioles. After surrendering five runs in just four innings of work, Miley's ERA against Baltimore stands at 15.64, nearly four times that of his ERA against the rest of the league. He entered tonight's game having allowed just four homers in 61.2 innings of work, but he couldn't keep the ball down in Camden Yards, and the Orioles crushed his mistakes.
A first inning bomb from Adam Jones got things started for the Orioles, but it could have been worse, with leadoff man Manny Machado singling to start the inning and getting picked off of first. Three straight singles in the second brought their second run in to score, though once again Miley was able to escape worse damage by getting the next two batters on a ground ball and pop-up.
That was sort of the way of things for Miley tonight. Never good, and never letting things get away from him completely. But if a pitcher can sustain a couple "not good" innings in a game without having the whole thing go south, if zero innings go well, then they've had a pretty bad night. That was the case here. His worst inning came in the third, with Nolan Reimold taking him deep to start, and Adam Jones making up for his earlier mistake by doubling and scoring on a Delmon Young single. In the fourth, it was Manny Machado putting the cap on Miley's unfortunate night with yet another homer, making it five runs against the lefty. Frustrated by his night, Miley even argued with John Farrell on camera in the dugout when he was told he was done for the night.
For once, that wasn't enough to completely bury the Red Sox. They loaded up the bases with no outs in the fourth, and while David Ortiz couldn't get any of them in with a weak fly ball, and Mike Napoli could only produce a sacrifice fly to bring one home, Pablo Sandoval produced a big double to score two more runs and bring the Sox within one at 4-3 for the moment.
Of course, Miley immediately allowed that fifth run in the bottom half of the inning, but the Sox picked up a fourth run in the sixth, with Xander Bogaerts picking up a two-out single to score Hanley Ramirez from second after a leadoff walk.
So the Red Sox went out in search of a shutdown inning, and this time they got it, with Steven Wright keeping the Orioles off the board. But the one-run deficit only lasted that one inning. Pablo Sandoval made an errant throw to start the seventh, allowing Manny Machado to reach and then eventually score on a sacrifice fly.
At the time, it was just an insurance run. But it proved to be all the difference in the world, as David Ortiz hit a solo shot well into the stands in right, scoring what would have been the tying run.
But if the run off Sandoval's error was Baltimore's last, the problem came much earlier in the night, with Miley's homers and general mediocrity. But who's to blame seems to matter less with each passing game. More important is that it's always someone at the end of the day, with the Red Sox finding themselves with one more game in the loss column. They can beat the worst-of-the-worst in the Athletics, but even the mediocre teams seem to be on an entirely different level.