Even without the rainy conditions that enveloped Sunday’s series finale between the Orioles and Boston Red Sox, Baltimore has not played its best defense this season at Fenway Park.
The trend continued in the Orioles’ final game this year in the iconic ballpark, a sloppy 7-3 loss that ended their seven-game winning streak as the Red Sox dodged a sweep. Five of the runs Baltimore (90-52) allowed were unearned. After going more than a month without making multiple errors, the Orioles have done so in consecutive games, with Sunday marking their third contest with at least three. Four of their 11 games this season with more than one error have been in Boston. In all, they made 10 errors in six games at Fenway Park.
The loss, paired with the Tampa Bay Rays’ victory over the Seattle Mariners, reduced Baltimore’s lead in the American League East to three games with 20 contests to play. The Orioles entered the day with their magic number to clinch a playoff spot at five, with the possibility they clinch their first berth since 2016 during their upcoming homestand against the St. Louis Cardinals and the Rays.
“Unfortunately, we just didn’t play very well today,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We just went 7-2 on a trip. Didn’t play very well on the first one. Didn’t play very well on the last one. We played seven excellent games and super happy and proud of what we did on this trip. Not easy to go to Arizona, Anaheim and then to Boston, three totally different climate conditions, stadiums and play extremely well on the trip. Today just wasn’t our best day, but really happy with how we’ve been playing.”
Sunday’s contest began after a 42-minute rain delay and went on even as droplets fell until the bottom of the eighth inning, when another delay began. After another 88 minutes, the game resumed. Right-hander Joey Krehbiel covered the frame’s three outs around the stoppage and stranded a runner at third base after a throwing error from catcher Adley Rutschman.
Boston (73-70) scored the game’s final seven runs after Baltimore scored three runs in the second on an infield single by Aaron Hicks and a two-run triple from Adam Frazier. A fielding error from Gold Glove third baseman Ramón Urías led to two unearned runs in the third inning off rookie right-hander Grayson Rodriguez, who gave up hits to three of the first four batters in the fourth as the Red Sox took a 4-3 lead.
Rodriguez exited with one out in the fifth, his first time failing to complete that frame in 10 starts since rejoining the Orioles’ rotation in mid-July after a return to Triple-A. The 23-year-old has a 2.95 ERA in that time, averaging just under six innings per start, after posting a 7.35 ERA in his first 10 starts. Hyde praised how he handled the fact it was raining throughout his outing.
“They were some different conditions,” Rodriguez said. “I felt like my first time in Fenway would have been a little bit drier, but it’s just something that you have to deal with.”
Cole Irvin stranded a runner on Rodriguez’s account to end the fifth, but first baseman Ryan O’Hearn’s fielding error extended the sixth, leading to Tristan Casas’ three-run home run that broke the game open. It was the only hit Irvin allowed in 2 2/3 innings.
Rodriguez, who has often credited his improved confidence in his second major league stint in part to the defense behind him, said Sunday’s showing was atypical.
“I don’t expect that to really happen again,” he said. “Obviously, our defense has been one of our better things about this team. It’s just one of those days. Obviously, field conditions weren’t right, so it makes it really tough on them. A lot of wet baseballs, a lot of weird bounces. That’s not something that you should expect from them.”
The Orioles’ offense rarely threatened after the second inning, striking out nine times while getting only one at-bat with a runner in scoring position. Frazier was thrown out at second trying to extend a single to open the fifth inning, and after Rutschman doubled with two outs, Gunnar Henderson popped out. Baltimore did not record a hit over the final four innings, leaving the team three shy of extending its streak of seven games with double-digit hits.
“We just didn’t play our best baseball all around,” Hyde said.
Cardinals at Orioles
Monday, 6:35 p.m.
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