Sox Bolt Out of Gate, but Barely Hold On in Baltimore

April 29

Bradish pitches for the Orioles in his MLB debut against Hill as these two teams close out April and start May. A runner is at first with one out in the top of the second when Arroyo hits a dinger to the bullpen in left to make it 2-0. It’s his first home run of the year and the team’s first in nearly a week! After an infield single, Vázquez doubles into right when the fielder misplays it and the ball goes to the wall, allowing Jackie Bradley Junior to score and make it 3-0. Vázquez is thrown out trying for third. With two out in the top of the third, Devers doubles to the right-field corner, but a fly out ends the inning. The fifth inning starts at 8:09, just over an hour after first pitch. By baseball standards, that’s lightning fast!

Hill, meanwhile, doesn’t allow a hit or base runner until the first batter of the fifth, at which point Alex Cora pulls him. I don’t agree with that. It seems premature to pull a man who pitched a perfect game for 4+ innings and hasn't even thrown 50 pitches. Another single puts two on, followed by a double play that puts a runner at third with two out and a walk that puts runners at the corners before a strikeout ends the inning. It doesn't come easily, as plate ump Adrian Johnson’s strike zone flusters and annoys the Boston dugout. At one point, Johnson calls time and shouts into the dugout, though he does not eject anyone. The first two batters reach in the bottom of the seventh and move into scoring position on a strikeout. A walk loads the bases with two out before a strikeout strands the runners and gets the Red Sox out of trouble. Boston batters go into a funk in which they get no hits from the third inning to the ninth. A runner is at second with two out in the top of the ninth, resulting in a pitching change. A walk puts two on before a groundout ends the inning. This stands after a Boston challenge. The Sox finally give up a run when Mountcastle hits a homer over the extended wall in left for his second of the year to lead off the bottom of the ninth. It’s 3-1. After a single, a balk puts a runner at second with nobody out. A walk puts the tying run on base with two out, but Strahm comes out of the bullpen and gets the winning run to strike out swinging as he earns the save in a 3-1 win for Boston.