The Sox had plenty on the table on Wednesday. Beating the Baltimore Orioles would have:
-- Clinched at least a wild-card playoff berth.
-- Cut the magic number for the division title to two.
-- Increased the lead on Oakland for the best record in the American League to 3.5 games.
Instead there was nothing gained as the Orioles came away with a 5-3 victory in 12 innings. Franklin Morales gave up a two-run single to Chris Davis to take the loss.
The Sox had 15 hits but scored one run over the final 11 innings. They grounded into four double plays, two in extra innings, and left nine runners on base.
“We needed one big hit and we didn’t get it,” Dustin Pedroia said. “But we’ll be OK.”
On Beard Night, more than 4,000 fans grabbed $1 tickets with beards real and fake and helped create a spirited midweek atmosphere. The hirsute saw a two-run home run by David Ortiz in the first inning and a solo shot my Mike Napoli in the sixth. But that was the extent of the offense.
The Sox should do what they can to send the Orioles home for the winter. The Sox are 6-9 against Baltimore this season and 13-27 since the final month of the 2011 season.
“They seem to match up against us pretty well,” catcher David Ross said. “They know how to use that bullpen.”
A few notes:
• Jackie Bradley Jr. pinch hit for Shane Victorino in the 12th inning because of a jammed right thumb.
“Felt like we needed to make a move there because of the soreness he’s experiencing,” Sox manager John Farrell said.
• Mike Carp singled to start the 11th inning and Quintin Berry ran for him. But Berry, who was ostensibly obtained to steal bases, was bunted to second.
The Orioles intentionally walked Will Middlebrooks, who had three hits. Stephen Drew stayed in to bat against the lefthander and T.J. McFarland got him to ground into a double play.
“With a lefthander on the mound and as well as Wieters throws we’re not looking at straight steal there,” Farrell said.
The Berry thing is interesting. He has been in nine games and used as a pinch runner six times. But he has tried to steal just once. Farrell said before the game the Sox aren't going to run just to test Berry and that he has track record of success. All true. But it's hard to judge what he can do at this point.
In the interest of history, Dave Roberts was 5 for 7 in the regular season in 2004. But then he was added to the roster on Aug. 1, not Sept. 1.