The Red Sox lineup did it again, opening up their series against the Orioles with another huge offensive explosion and getting another big win against a division rival.
The first inning may well have seen the worst-played frame of baseball this entire season. And it was pretty much all on the Orioles. The start was normal enough—a quick first-pitch hit from Dustin Pedroia, who is hotter than the sun right now. The continuation was less so, as Xander Bogaerts hit a ground ball to third that Manny Machado knocked down with his glove, and then over to the dugout with his foot to let Bogaerts reach. The fourth pitch of the at bat saw David Ortiz lift a fly ball deep to left field, where Steve Pearce managed to get the ball briefly and tentatively into his glove before letting it pop out. Buck Showalter asked the umpires to go to the replay, but they stayed with the call, giving Ortiz first and loading the bases.
And really, it just got worse from there. On a 3-1 slider, Mookie Betts smoked a line drive to left. Steve Pearce was never guaranteed to reach it even with a perfect route, but he didn’t even come close as he undercut the ball dramatically, leaving him leaping comically as the ball sailed well over his head, scoring two runs. Behind Betts, Hanley hit a flare over the shortstop’s head, but somehow Pearce managed to mess that play up too. Scooping the ball up, Pearce bobbled it slightly, and made a low-effort toss to the relay man, apparently assuming the play was over. Mookie Betts, however, was not done running, taking off for home and catching the Orioles sleeping to steal a fourth run. A bloop back of first from Chris Young and a Sandy Leon sacrifice fly would be enough to make it 5-0 before the Orioles could escape the inning.
With David Price on the mound, the Red Sox did not need any more than that. No man, it seems, is invulnerable to their ability to hit the long ball—they entered the game with 226, and finished with 228, as Price was victimized by Chris Davis and Manny Machado in the second and fourth respectively. But those solo shots were all the Orioles managed against him. Price never had to pitch out of the stretch. It was exclusively home runs and outs for eight innings.
Just because the Sox didn’t need any more, though, doesn’t mean they didn’t score any more. Quite the contrary. The Sox put up only one more crooked number, but they also produced only one zero all night. The second saw Miley load the bases and Vance Worley walk in a run. Chris Young scored in the third after a leadoff double. Hanley Ramirez produced an absolute moonshot in the fourth for an eighth run, and Young again scored after a leadoff hit in the fifth, but this time did all the work himself by finding the Monster seats. David Ortiz joined the home run party in the sixth, and the Sox finally managed multiples again come the seventh, with Sandy Leon capping off a stretch of three straight hits to start the inning and driving in Aaron Hill and Chris Young to make it 12-2.
And so that’s how the Red Sox start their series against Baltimore. A huge blowout that was every bit as lopsided as it should have been given the pitching matchup. As with the Jays series this past weekend, this is only the Sox doing what they had to do with the best matchup of the series. Unlike that Jays series, though, with Pomeranz and Porcello lined up, the Sox are looking pretty good in the other games too. For tonight, though, they’ve at least ensured they’ll stay ahead of Baltimore by the series’ end. One more win will make sure they’re ahead of Toronto, too, no matter how little the Rays might manage against the Jays.