BOSTON In this Red Sox season that has been defined by futility and failure, Saturday afternoon offered a microcosmic glimpse into the season, as the Sox lost, 9-6, in 12 innings to the Orioles at Fenway Park.
The Sox have now lost four in a row and fell to a season-worst 17 games under .500. They have lost the season series to the Orioles for the first time since 2004, and fell to 1-7 overall against the Orioles at Fenway this season. With a Baltimore win on Sunday, the Orioles will tie their team-high wins in a season at Fenway Park, with eight in 1960 and 1966.
Alfredo Aceves gave up three runs in the 12th, wasting stellar performances by Craig Breslow, Junichi Tazawa, Andrew Bailey, and Mark Melancon, who each pitched a perfect inning in relief of Aaron Cook, who gave up five runs in 5 13 innnigs.
It was hard to find a silver lining.
Yeah, said Melancon, who had two strikeouts in his inning of work. All year its been like that.
The Sox came back from three deficits to tie the game, only to lose once again in extra innings.
Its frustrating, said Cody Ross. But we battled and had some chances but couldnt come through and they did.
The Sox fell to 2-9 in extra-inning games this season, 0-7 in extra innings at Fenway, and 0-4 to the Orioles in extra innings at Fenway. Their record in extra innings is confounding.
Very, said Ross. At the end of the season the teams that you see go into the playoffs pull out the extra-inning games and win a lot of extra-inning games. We just havent been able to do that this year.
When you dont have that fire power, I guess, with the big hit, said manager Bobby Valentine. The guys are giving great at-bats, just coming up a little short at times. Wanting it real badly, I think, when they go up there and maybe trying too hard to get the walk off.
Meanwhile, it was the Orioles 18th extra-inning win this season, including a team-record 16 in a row the most since the 1949 Indians won 17 straight.
If I knew the secret to their success Id put it in a bottle, sell it on the street corners, Valentine said. But its a pretty good bullpen, Ill tell you that. Got a guy Tommy Hunter coming in in the 11th inning throwing 101 mph. Thats pretty tough to score against.
They got guys in their bullpen throwing 100 miles an hour, Ross said. Theyve got a good bullpen. They've got arm after arm after arm. And they put together good at-bats. Theyve done a good job at it this year.
For now, all the Sox can do is keep trying.
Thats the only thing we can do right now, Ross said. Stay positive and keep grinding, keep fighting and a pitch at a time as they say. So a pitch at a time, as they say.