Extra Bases

The Baltimore chop

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A pitcher looks terrific for four innings then gives up six runs on six hits in the fifth inning. Most teams would have been talked afterward about how surprised they were. But the Red Sox have seen this before from Daisuke Matsuzaka.

“It was a roller-coaster,” Terry Francona said.

Opposing batters had a 1.078 OPS in their second plate appearance against Matsuzaka last season, compared to an .812 in the first. In other words, he’s easier to figure out the second time around.

Then Tim Wakefield came in and only made it worse, giving up five runs in 2.1 innings. He now has a 6.59 ERA and has put 44 runners on base in 27.1 innings.

“I need to make better pitches. My job coming into the situation is to keep the score as close as possible and I didn’t do it. I feel responsible for us losing,” Wakefield said.

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David Ortiz belted two home runs and all concerned took that as a good sign. The first one was off Brad Bergesen and his 10.57 ERA. The second one, a legit shot, was off lefty Alberto Castillo.

The bottom line is this: The Sox were 16-2 against the Orioles last season. They are 2-3 against them this year and have been outscored 33-30. That the worst team in baseball has gotten the better of the Sox in five games is a sign that something has to change.

Those six runs in the fifth inning were more than the Orioles scored in 18 of their games this season. The O’s have won three straight against the Sox for the first time since 2005.

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“I don’t think on any end we’re playing good baseball,” Kevin Youkilis said. “I speak for myself, I need to do a lot more to help this team win. I think every guy needs to look in the mirror and see what they can do each day to make this team better off.”

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