The Baltimore Orioles probably couldn't wait to get this game started to try and erase last night's devastating loss to the Red Sox in which the birds led 5-0 going into the 6th inning and lost 6-5 to the Red Sox. Meanwhile, the Red Sox were looking to walk away with a series win on a day that Boston commemorated Patriots' Day and the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. Picking up where they left off last night, the Orioles once again jumped out to a 6-0 lead only to see the Red Sox chip away and come within one base hit of winning the game in the bottom of the 9th inning. Unlike the night before, the Orioles were able to hold on for a 7-6 win and a split in the series.
The Orioles offense exploded with 6 runs against Boston starter Clay Buchholz in the top of the 3rd inning. The inning began with six consecutive singles that plated the first three runs. After a run scored on a fielder's choice hit by Adam Jones, back-up catcher Steve Clevenger belted a double into right field that plated another run and Jonathan Schoop hit a long single to bring in the 6th run. Boston made a game out of it by scoring three runs in the 6th inning and single runs in the 7th, 8th, and 9th to bring the score to 7-6 in favor of Baltimore. With the bases loaded in the bottom of the 9th and two outs, Mike Carp grounded out to first baseman Chris Davis who walked over to the bag and sealed the victory for the Orioles.
Certainly, the Orioles need to be concerned about their inability to hold leads in each of the last two games. After all, we're not not talking about two or three-run leads but five and six-run leads that evaporated in a few innings. Perhaps part of the problem is that the Red Sox are a scrappy team that refuses to give in not only against the Orioles but all of their other division opponents. At the same time, the Orioles bullpen will need to hold leads if the team expects to stay in the pack as the weather heats up this summer. One positive component of the Orioles' bullpen this year is closer Tommy Hunter who came into the season replacing Jim Johnson. The Baltimore fan base and certainly some sports analysts were concerned as to whether Hunter would be able to close games consistently due to his propensity to give up the long ball. Thus far into the season, Hunter is 5 of 6 in save opportunities.
With the victory the Orioles leave Boston with a split in the series, although they are still 3-4 against the Red Sox on the season. The teams will meet again in May. The Orioles improved their record to 9-9 and the Red Sox fall to 9-11. Baltimore heads off to Toronto for a three-game series in which the Orioles will send Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Tillman, and Bud Norris to the mound. Thereafter, the birds return home to Baltimore for a series against the Kansas City Royals and a series versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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