Sox continue to struggle in extra-innings

893489.jpg

Sox continue to struggle in extra-innings

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.

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 5, Angels 4

ap_16183837241110.jpg

Quotes, notes and stars: Red Sox 5, Angels 4

Quotes, Notes and Stars of the Red Sox’ 5-4 win over the Angels

Quotes

"It's a joke. That's a brutal call for whoever's back in New York looking at it.'' - Mike Scioscia on decision not to cite fan interference on ground-rule double in the ninth.

"We played with 26 players tonight. I was like, 'Yes!''' - David Ortiz on the fan who touched Daniel Nava's double.

"If I had to go back and do it all over again, I probably would have just thrown a knuckleball. I didn't want to walk a guy, but I've got to think about the bigger picture and just swallow the walk.'' - Steven Wright, on the fastball thrown to C.J. Cron, who hit a grand slam.

Notes

* David Ortiz moved into 19th place all-time in home runs with No. 522, breaking a tie with Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.

* Ortiz collected his 2,000th hit as a member of the Red Sox, something only six other players in history have accomplished.

* Ortiz also passed Thomas in career RBI with 1,704, good for 23rd place.

* Ortiz extended his Fenway hitting streak to 18 games. He's reached base at home in every home game since April 29.

* Steven Wright has allowed just six homers all season, but three have come in the last four games. Xander Bogaerts and Mookie Betts became the first Red Sox teammates to record 100 hits each before the team's 81st game since 1988 when four players did so - Wade Boggs, Dwight Evans, Mike Greenwell and Marty Barrett.

* The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the Red Sox against the Angels.

* The game marked the 47th time in first 79 games that the Sox have collected 10 or more hits. That leads the majors, with Kansas City and Detroit next at 39.

* The Sox are 23-9 in Brock Holt's starts.

Stars

1) David Ortiz

Ortiz had a three-hit game with two singles and a homer, the last of which was his 2,000th hit in a Red Sox uniform. The homer also was career home run No. 522, moving him past three Hall of Famers into 19th place all-time.

2) Brock Holt

Holt announced his presence loud and clear with two doubles, two runs scored, an RBI and an assist from the outfield.

3) C.J. Cron

Cron made things mighty interesting with one swing of the bat in the sixth, driving a ball into the Monster Seats for a grand slam that brought the Angels back to within a run.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam

First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Angels

ap_16184030972217.jpg

First impressions from the Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Angels

First Impressions from the Boston Red Sox' 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels

* John Farrell faced a tough call with Steven Wright in the sixth.

Wright doesn't fare well in wet weather, as the Red Sox learned earlier this season when he tried to pitch in a steady rain against Houston. With a downpour, Wright wasn't able to grip his signature knuckler, and the results showed.

In the fifth and into the sixth, the rain was picking up. By the start of the sixth, the rain intensified, and Wright began to struggle. He allowed a leadoff double to Albert Pujols, hit Jefry Marte and walked Daniel Nava to load the bases.

Farrell had Matt Barnes warming, but the manager was clearly trying to get his starter through the sixth and limit the bullpen workload, having gone to the pen in the third inning Monday and the seventh inning Wednesday.

The move backfired when C.J. Cron hit a grand slam. Wright has been terrific this season, but his inability to pitch when there's any rain at all creates a unique challenge for his manager.

* Brock Holt made his presence felt right away.

Holt missed more than a month with a concussion, and admitted before Friday's game that he still wasn't 100 percent recovered.

But that hardly seemed the case Friday night. In the field, Holt fielded a line drive in the corer by C.J. Cron and fired a strike to second, cutting down Cron attempting to stretch a single into a double.

At the plate, meanwhile, Holt clubbed two doubles to left.

Holt used that same inside-out swing both times to take pitches the other way, expertly using the Wall and Fenway to his advantage.

For the past week, the Red Sox were shuffling a few outfielders, none of whom had had much experience -- or success -- at the big league level. Even if he's not 100 percent and can't be counted on every day yet, Holt could provide a nice jolt to the bottom third of the order.

* Ortiz continues to pile up records.

His solo homer in the fifth - a line shot that curled past the right field foul pole, into the box seats -- was No. 522 of his career. That enabled Ortiz to move past three Hall of Famers: Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams -- with one swing.

Ortiz had been tied with the trio in 19th place for most career homers.

The homer also marked his 2,000th hit with the Red Sox. He became the seventh player to amass 2,000 hits in a Red Sox uniform. The others: Williams,  Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Dwight Evans, Bobby Doerr and Wade Boggs.

Sean McAdam can be followed on Twitter: @Sean_McAdam