BOSTON – (Staff Report for Digital Sports Desk from Fenway Park) – As the proverbial “Baseball Gods” would have it, 19 big runs were plastered up on the Green Monster’s antique scoreboard by the Boston Red Sox this afternoon, but the club could only muster three in the nightcap and fell to the lowly Baltimore Orioles, 10-3.
While the offensive effort from a B-team-type line-up left much to be desired, Boston’s bullpen meltdown was the cause of the evening defeat when right-handed reliever Matt Barnes coughed up three runs in the 7th inning, allowing Baltimore to take the second game of a day/night doubleheader and the final game of their three-game series. Baltimore left town, losers of two-of-three and 60.5 games out of first place in the AL East. With the twin-bill split, Boston is (107-52) and needs a victory to join 11 MLB teams who’ve won 108+ games in a season since the year 1900.
On a hot, humid, 78-degree night, Boston starter Chris Sale went 4.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk. He struck-out eight and hit two batters while throwing 92 pitchers on a semi-effective night when there was no-decision on his line. Sale’s last win and dominant outing was August 12 at Baltimore. He has since been working his way back from “mild left shoulder inflammation,” while he’s pitched between 1 and 3.1 innings in his previous three starts.
Eduardo Rodriguez relieved Sale in the 5th inning and performed admirably, striking out three Orioles in his 1.1 innings pitched. But when Rodriguez passed the torch to Barnes, and later Hector Velazquez, the Sox were scorched.
Across the way, Baltimore spot starter Jimmy Yacabonis threw 3.1 innings, allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and four walks in a no-decision outing. He gave way to Tanner Scott (3-2) with the score tied 2-2. Scott earned the victory and lefty Paul Fry held on to secure the save, his 2nd of the year.
Baltimore scored twice in the top of the 1st inning, with an RBI triple down the right field line by first baseman Trey Mancini highlighting the show. In the 5th inning, DH Adam Jones belted a line drive to left field to score catcher Caleb Joseph from 2nd base to give Baltimore its first lead of the day, 3-2.
A lead-off double by catcher Caleb Joseph in the 7th, a walk issued by Barnes to Jonathan Villar and three consecutive base hits by Trey Mancini, Adam Jones and Renato Nunez orchestrated the three game-winning runs for Baltimore.
Boston closer Craig Kimbrel was inserted in the 9th to get some needed work and looked terrible, walking three, throwing one wild pitch to allow Villar to score and hitting Jones with a pitch. He was charged with four runs and was yanked for lefty Robby Scott after facing five batters and retiring only Mancini on a fly ball.
GAME NOTES: Boston will enjoy a rare home off-day on Thursday while Baltimore returns to the Charm City for a four-game season-ending series against the AL West-leading Houston Astros. … Boston hosts the New York Yankees for a three-game set at Fenway park to finish off the 2018 regular season. … Rick Porcello (17-7, 4.33 ERA) is scheduled to pitch for the Red Sox on Friday night, but the remaining two pitchers are listed as TBA.