BOSTON — One of the signatures of last year’s World Series Red Sox team was its ability to come from behind in games and pull out wins in its last at-bats. That has not been the case for most of this season, though.
But, in the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Orioles at Fenway Park, the Sox pulled out the walk-off win. And it seemed in the nightcap they were on their way to engineering a come-from-behind victory.
Instead, they got more futility, as they fell to the O’s, 7-4.
John Lackey took the loss in the nightcap, falling to 9-6 as his ERA rose from 3.62 to 3.84. He went 5 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on 10 hits, including two home runs, and a walk with 11 strikeouts.
Brad Brach, who relieved starter Ubaldo Jimenez, got the win, improving to 3-0.
The O’s scored first on Nick Hundley’s two-run home run in fourth, scoring Manny Machado, who singled.
The Sox tied the score in the bottom of the inning, on Stephen Drew’s two-run homer. It was his second home run of the day, after entering the day with none. It was also the Sox’ first hit of the game, scoring Mike Napoli, who led off the inning with a walk.
After Jonny Gomes struck out, A.J. Pierzynski, Mookie Betts, Brock Holt (double), and Daniel Nava connected for four straight hits and two runs, giving the Sox a 4-2 lead. The four runs in the inning was the most the Sox have scored in one frame since four runs in the seventh inning against the Indians on June 13.
A solo home run by Nelson Cruz – who had a career-high five hits, falling a triple shy of the cycle — in the fifth cut the O’s deficit to one.
But, in the sixth, the O’s broke open, batting around to score four more runs. After striking out Nick Hundley, looking at a 93-mph fastball, Lackey gave up a single to No. 9 hitter Jonathan Schoop and walked Nick Markakis, ending Lackey’s outing.
Burke Badenhop entered, giving up consecutive singles to Steve Pearce, Adam Jones, and Nelson Cruz, scoring three runs. Badenhop left with lefthander Tommy Layne – who was called up for the second game of the doubleheader – entering. Layne walked Chris Davis before J.J. Hardy grounded to Brock Holt at third base for a fielder’s choice and another run, before Manny Machado grounded out to end the inning. But, the O’s had opened a 7-4 lead that was too much for the Sox to overcome.
Zach Britton got the save for the O’s, his 13th, with a perfect ninth inning.
Nelson Cruz went 5-for-5 with a home run, two doubles, two RBI, and a run scored. He fell a triple shy of the cycle, and was thrown out at third base in the eighth inning trying to stretch a double into a triple. He recorded a career-high five hits and matched a career high for the fifth time with three extra-base hits. He is the first visiting player with at least five hits at Fenway since J.J. Hardy did so in a 17-inning game on May 6, 2012. That was the last five-hit game by a Baltimore batter. Nick Markakis was the last O’s batter with five hits in a nine-inning game, on July 3, 2011, at Atlanta.
Although he matched his season high with 11 strikeouts, John Lackey also matched his season high with 10 hits, including two home runs, giving up five runs with one walk.
Stephen Drew hit his second home run of the day – and of the season – with a two-run shot in fourth.
QUOTE/TWEET OF THE GAME:
“I’m not even going to comment on him. I’ve got nothing to say about him. There’s things I would like to say but I’m not going to . . . You guys forget pretty conveniently about stuff.” – John Lackey, when asked about Nelson Cruz’s performance
NUMBERS TO KNOW:
With the loss, the Sox fell to 9-37 when opponents score first, 16-21 against AL East opponents and 6-6 against the O’s…The Sox drew six walks, the 28th time this season they have recorded five or more, third-most in baseball…Lackey’s outing was the first time a Sox pitcher recorded 10 or more strikeouts in an outing of less than six innings…Stephen Drew hit a home run in both games of the doubleheader, the first Sox batter to do so since Jacoby Ellsbury, who did so twice in 2011: against the Rays on Aug. 16, and at Yankee Stadium on Sept. 25). The last time Drew hit home runs in back-to-back games was Sept. 15 and 16, 2012, while with the A’s, also against the O’s…David Ortiz’s fifth-inning double was his 1,707th with the Sox, tying Harry Hooper for seventh place on the team’s all-time list…Mike Napoli drew a walk in fourth inning and has now walked in nine straight games, the longest active streak in the majors, matching his season-high walk streak of nine games from April 29 – May 10, and one shy of matching the longest such streak in the majors this season (10 each by Curtis Granderson and Josmil Pinto). Napoli has reached base in 13 straight games, batting .302 in that stretch, going 13-for-43, with 12 walks…The Sox scored four runs in the fourth, the most they have scored in one frame since four runs in the seventh inning against the Indians on June 13. But it was the only inning in which they scored in the game…The Sox are 19-30 against the O’s since the start of 2012.
WHAT IT MEANS:
With a split of the doubleheader, the Sox are now 16-21 against division opponents, and are just a half-game ahead of Tampa Bay for last place in the AL East.
The Sox and O’s play the finale of their three-game set at Fenway at 1:35 p.m. on Sunday. Jake Peavy (1-7, 4.82) is scheduled to start, opposed by O’s right-hander Kevin Gausman (3-2. 3.86).
Peavy, whose only win was April 25, 12 starts ago. The sox are 5-12 in his outings.
He has faced the O’s twice this year, taking the loss at Camden Yards, going seven innings, giving up four runs on eight hits and a walk with seven strikeouts on June 9. He took a no-decision against the O’s on April 20 at Fenway, giving up five runs on 10 hits over 5 2/3 innings in a game the Sox eventually won.
Gausman is being called up to make this start. He last pitched on Wednesday, in a shortened outing for Low-A Aberdeen. He has not faced the Sox this season.