Hey, remember how Opening Day went perfectly for the Red Sox? Everything according to plan? It's all great?
Well, Fenway's was the opposite of that.
David Price on the mound. Craig Kimbrel pitching in the ninth. These are things that are supposed to indicate a Red Sox win. Instead, it's a 9-7 loss.
This game was...stilted, is perhaps the best way I can describe it. So here's your stilted recap, with all the bits that matter:
Inning the first:
Hey, everything actually does go right. Fresh off a shutout in Toronto, the Red Sox offense keys in early against Yovanni Gallardo. They score their first run before they make their first out, with three straight singles bringing Mookie Betts in to score. David Ortiz plants one off the wall to make it 2-0, and Hanley Ramirez' sacrifice fly puts the Red Sox ahead by three. Can't complain about that.
Inning the third:
After a total shutdown second, David Price comes out and K's Nolan Reimold--his fourth of the day--to start the frame. And then everything goes to hell. Caleb Joseph singled to right, and Price proved largely incapable of finding the zone against leadoff man Joey Rickard. The control issues continued when he yanked an 0-1 fastball to Manny Machado, just barely brushing the leg of his uniform and loading up the bases.
The hit that opened the floodgates was not at all impressive. A little bloop from Chris Davis on one of the changeups that had been giving the Orioles hell to start the day. But it got over Dustin Pedroia's head, and at the end of the day it doesn't matter how hard it was hit. It was still good to score two.
The hit that put the Orioles ahead? Not so much. Mark Trumbo put a ball in the air to right, and while it didn't seem like a killer off the bat, it just kept sailing until it got out. Just like that, Price had surrendered five runs in the frame, and the Sox trailed by two.
Inning the fourth:
As ever, Brock Holt proves our hero. This time by starting a rally with a walk, taking third on a Blake Swihart single, and scoring when Jackie Bradley Jr. doubled on a bloop to left that bounced up into the stands. Some rough baserunning from Bradley would potentially cost the Red Sox a bigger inning when he ran into the out at third on a ground out from Mookie Betts that scored the tying run in Swihart, allowing the Orioles to turn a double play on Dustin Pedroia to end the frame before Boston could take a lead.
Inning the fifth:
The umpires take over for a frame. Xander Bogaerts is called out on a ground ball where the throw to first seems to draw Chris Davis off the bag, but the Red Sox make no challenge because they're saving it to use on what's pretty clearly an out in the ninth. Joy. David Ortiz is then called out on strikes on a pitch that's nearly a foot outside. Instead of two-on, no outs, they have two outs and nobody on. The inning ends uneventfully.
Inning the sixth:
As ever, Brock Holt proves our hero. The Orioles crush Matt Barnes for two big doubles to start the inning, retaking the lead, but Holt makes a great catch on a sinking liner to left, and throws in to second to double up Jonathan Schoop, who can't believe he just caught that anymore than everyone else in the park. Then, in the bottom of the frame, he draws another walk, goes careening from first-to-third on a shallow single to center, and scores the tying run when Jackie Bradley Jr. beats out a double play.
Inning the ninth:
What more appropriate way to end a game where David Price allows five than for Craig Kimbrel to allow three? Ugh. After walking Caleb Joseph and Manny Machado, Kimbrel throws a 97 mile per hour fastball to Chris Davis, who hits the ball a mile and a half, depositing it way up the batter's eye. Kimbrel exits the inning with a three-run deficit, and in line for he loss, to a chorus of boos.
Just setting up the storybook win though, right? It seemed that way when Mookie Betts launched a solo shot into the Monser seats to start the inning, and both Dustin Pedroia and Xander Bogaerts reached base to bring David Ortiz up the plate. But the storybook was abruptly subverted when Ortiz hit a ground ball to second. And while it took a long time for J.J. Hardy to get the ball to first, David Ortiz is a slow man, and the double play was completed after a futile challenge attempt. Hanley Ramirez struck out, and all was said and done.
There goes that 3-1 cushion, and now the Red Sox face the prospect of trying to stay above .500 with the rest of their rotation in line. Not a good way to open Fenway Park.