It took 39 innings all together, but the Orioles completed a three-game sweep of the Red Sox for the first time since 1994 with a 17-inning 9-6 win.
By the end of it, both managers were scraping the barrel for pitchers.
Chris Davis, the Orioles designated hitter who did everything but hit Sunday (0 for 8 with five strikeouts), ultimately earned the win, tossing the final two innings.
Darnell McDonald, who came in as a pinch runner for David Ortiz, took the loss for the Sox after giving up a three-run home run to Adam Jones in the 17th.
He then grounded into the double-play that finally ended the game after six hours, seven minutes.
The Orioles took the lead in the AL East, while the Sox sunk deeper into the bottom of the division.
Will Middlebrooks’s fifth inning grand slam tied the game at 5 and gave the Sox new life.
He became the first Red Sox to hit a grand slam as his first home run since Daniel Nava in 2010.
Clay Buchholz struggled, lasting just 3.2 innings, giving up five runs on seven hits and getting tagged for three home runs.
JJ Hardy took Buchholz deep twice, and Robert Andino tacked on a three-run homer in the fourth to give Baltimore a 5-1 lead. The Orioles hit seven home runs in the series.
Top of the 17th, Orioles 9, Red Sox 6: The game’s got this twilight-hour loopiness that you’d expect after 17 innings.
After Davis pitched a clean inning, Darnell McDonald’s walked Ryan Flaherty (hard to get a call from the ump when you were yelling in his face earlier in the game), but Flaherty decided to make a break for second and got picked off.
Still, McDonald couldn’t find the plate.
He gave up a double to Hardy, walked Nick Markakis and Adam Jones finally homered to put the Os up again.
Top of the 16th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: The game’s reached the point where both managers are scraping the barrel.
Chris Davis is taking the mound for the Orioles.
Darnell McDonald is in the pen for the Sox.
This is clearly about to be the most epic duel ever.
(Actually, Davis, who is 0-for-7 with five strikeouts, might end up having the worst statical day in baseball history if he catches the loss.
Wait … what’s that? He just struck out Jarrod Saltalamacchia? Seriously?)
Top of the 15th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: Double plays have shot holes in the last four innings for the Orioles. This time Scott Atchison got Adam Jones to bounce out 4-6-3.
Bottom of the 14th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: Dustin Pedroia’s entire posture after striking out staring at a curveball sort of sums everything up. He was frozen for a while, then he slumped forward, hands dangling toward the dirt. Then he walked off.
This game’s about to be 15 innings old and even the players can feel it.
Top of the 13th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: When he saw Franklin Morales give up a leadoff, line drive single to Matt Wieters, Bobby Valentine went with lefty Rich Hill to face lefty Chris Davis, who was 0-for-the-day, but had been swinging it pretty well prior.
Hill got a double play ball, then after walking Mark Reynolds, he got Nick Johnson to pop foul in front of the Sox dugout.
Hard to imagine this one not bleeding over into Celtics-Hawks.
Bottom of the 12th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6:Another thirteen innings for these two. This game has some weight to it, honestly. The Orioles haven’t swept the Sox in a three-game series since 1994, and if they win they’ll sit atop the AL East. The Sox are trying to avoid losing five straight.
Bottom of the 11th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: This late in a game this close, Will Middlebrooks chose a poor time to make a rookie mistake.
He sent a what should have been a two-out double into the corner in left but stopped running midway down the first baseline because he wasn’t sure if it dropped fair.
Once he got back in gear, it was took late to even think about making a turn. So the Sox lost a runner in scoring position.
Marlon Byrd struck out after his single, ending the inning.
Bottom of the 10th, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6:Darnell McDonald struck out looking at a fastball to end the inning, then turned and had words with James Hoye. Bobby Valentine came out of the dugout to diffuse the situation.
It could be worse. McDonald could be Baltimore’s Chris Davis. He’s 0 for 5 with five strikeouts.
Bottom of the ninth, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: A strike-him-out, throw-him-out, double-play gives us the fifth extra inning of the series.
Top of the ninth, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6:Alfredo Aceves tossed a 1-2-3 inning. He came in having gone five straight appearances (6.2 innings) without giving up a run.
Bottom of the eighth, Orioles 6, Red Sox 6: And of course, after the errors, Saltalamacchia comes through in a crucial RBI situation, driving a fly ball to left field that was deep enough to allow Darnell McDonald (pinch running for David Ortiz, who led the innign off with a double) to score from third.
Top of the eighth, Orioles 6, Red Sox 5: Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s fielding has been both conspicuous and costly this series.
His passed ball Saturday led to a play at the plate which left Aaron Cook with a gash that required 11 stitches.
He lost a foul pop yesterday that ended up being inconsequential, but the same thing happened today the Sox paid the price.
Adam Jones popped one up to the first base side in foul territory, Jarrod Saltalamacchia misplayed it, prolonging the at-bat.
Jones reached on an infield single (Saltalamcchia got an error), then when he tried to steal second, Saltalamacchia airmailed his throw into centerfield picking up two errors in an inning.
Jones eventually scored when Mark Reynolds doubled to deep center field.
Now the one run that separates the Os and the Sox is an unearned run in a two-error inning.
Bottom of the seventh, Orioles 5, Red Sox 5: The way Adrian Gonzalez has been swinging it lately, the stat doesn’t necessarily sound right, but he was 4 for 12 with two-outs and runners in scoring position when he stepped to the plate to face Troy Patton and try to break the tie.
He hit into the shift, a hard ground ball that JJ Hardy hauled in to end the inning.
Make it 4 for 13.
Top of the seventh, Orioles 5, Red Sox 5: Some strong pitching out of the bullpen on both sides. Luis Ayala went 1.2, Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s double to deep center was the only hit he allowed.
This is where it starts to get dicey for the Os though. They’re 11-0 when they lead after 7, 2-2 when it’s tied and 5-7 when they trail. They Sox, however or 1-11 when they’re down after 7, 1-1 when it’s still even and 9-2 when they’re up.
Top of the sixth, Orioles 5, Red Sox 5:So Andrew Miller was pretty effective in his first appearance. He faced cleaned up the messy fourth inning by getting a come backer out of Nick Markakis then struck out the side in the fifth.
Matt Albers came on in the sixth and tossed a 1-2-3 inning. Rallying and trying to avoid losing five straight, the bullpen’s picking a fine time to give the Sox a lift.
Bottom of the fifth, Orioles 5, Red Sox 5: The Will Middlebrooks checklist.
First home run: check.
First grand slam: check.
First Red Sox to hit a grand slam as his first home run … since Daniel Nava in 2010 at least, but you get the point.
With the base loaded he crushed a hanging breaking ball from Tommy Hunter and tied the game in the process.
The only person happier than clay Buchholz was probably David Ortiz, who was on third admiring the long ball with his hands in the air as it arced out.
(In the battle of stats that don’t matter, the Os are 12-0 when they score five or more runs. The Red Sox are 9-2).
Bottom of the fourth, Orioles 5, Red Sox 1: Mike Aviles took Tommy Hunter off the Wall then, Ryan Sweeney followed up with a single to drive him in and get the Sox on the board, but they’re in a serious hole.
Buchholz left the game after 3.2 innings. All five runs were his. He was rocked for three homers and beyond that he walked four batters after walking five in his last start.
The walks are what led to the Robert Andino’s three-run bomb in the top half, and it only adds to the woes for a team trying to figure out some kind of solution for its pitching problems.
Top of the fourth, Orioles 5, Red Sox, 0:The Orioles got their signals crossed on the basepaths, when Nick Johnson shot a ball to Center that he figured was a double.
Matt Wieters made his turn at third then decided for whatever reason that scoring on a double wasn’t a good idea. So Mark Reynolds, who was behind him, had to turn around, but when he did, he realized Johnson was practically neck-and-neck with him.
So Johnson stopped between first and second (more second) and just conceded to being tagged out, and it all looked like blooper-real Orioles baseball.
Then, Robert Andino came up and smacked the second pitch he saw off the Sports Authority sign, and none of the not-top-play material really mattered anymore.
And then Orioles manager Buck Showalter did the Buck Pump.
Top of the third, Orioles 2, Red Sox 0: JJ Hardy is sort of a microcosm of the Orioles. He came into the game hitting .187 with four homers.
He just went deep for the second time in as many at bats, shipping a curveball to the AAA sign over the Monster.
He’s hitting .202 now.
Last year, the Os were fourth in the league with 191 homers, behind the Yankees, Rangers and Red Sox. They hit .257 as a team.
This year, they’re third (37). Take a wild guess which team fell out of the top three.
Bottom of the second, Orioles 1, Red Sox 0:Tommy Hunter and Clay Buchholz are sort of in opposite predicaments these days. Buchholz is getting 10.86 runs per nine innings. The Orioles are 2-1 in Hunter’s last start, but Hunter hasn’t been able to get comfortable at all.
He left his April 18 outing against the White Sox down 5-1, against the Blue Jays up just 2-1 and against Oakland down 2-0.
He struck out Adrian Gonzalez, who fought for eight pitches before swinging at a full-count cutter, and Cody Ross, who nearly flung his bat after coming up empty on a 2-and-1 fastball.
Top of the second, Orioles 1, Red Sox 0: Clay Buchholz made strikeout victims out of Chris Davis, Nick Johnson and Robert Andino all. He got Johnson looking at a 2-and-2 cutter and Andino stared at a 1-and-2 fastball.
Bottom of the first, Orioles 1, Red Sox 0:Dustin Pedroia mustered an infield single but was cut down trying to steal second, running the Sox out of the inning.
Top of the first, Orioles 1, Red Sox 0: JJ Hardy smacked a 2-and-1 fastball over the Wall, and the Orioles have now gone deep on the Sox in all three games this season (four homers total).
Pregame: Something that sort of went overlooked yesterday: One of the reporters in the scrum around Jarrod Saltalamacchia asked if, after losing four straight, the Sox were digging a hole for themselves.
Saltalamacchia dismissed the question, saying simply, “I’m not answering that.”
He was pretty polite about it, but it was pretty clear that maybe they sense it, too.
So now Clay Buchholz is takes the mound looking to stop this brief skid before they head to Kansas City tomorrow.