Uehara disappointed in loss, not end of streak

Uehara disappointed in loss, not end of streak
September 18, 2013, 12:15 am
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BOSTON – Apparently Koji Uehara is human. The Japanese right-hander had been nearly infallible in the second half of this season.  Until the ninth inning against the Orioles Tuesday night at Fenway Park.
 
Uehara entered the game riding two significant streaks. He had retired 37 consecutive batters – the second-longest streak in major league history, to Bobby Jenks’ streak of 41 straight batters retired in 2007 – and had not allowed a run in 30 1/3 innings – the longest such streak by a Red Sox pitcher since Dick Radatz’s 33-scoreless-innings streak in 1963.
 
Uehara quickly saw both streaks come to a halt. Danny Valencia led off the inning with a triple to center field on an 0-and-2 fastball. Valencia’s drive, to the warning track in front of the garage door in center field, glanced off the glove of Shane Victorino, who had been shaded over to left.
 
It was the first hit off Uehara since the Yankees’ Lyle Overbay two-out single in the ninth inning on Aug. 17 at Fenway.
 
Two pitches later Matt Wieters lofted a fly ball to right field for a sacrifice fly to score pinch-runner Alexi Casilla, giving the Orioles a 3-2 lead, and ultimately the win.
 
It is the first run Uehara has allowed since July 6, a span of 27 games beginning July 9, a team record.  It is the longest scoreless-innings streak in the majors this season, and the longest in the American League since Oakland’s Brad Ziegler went 30 straight scoreless innings in 2008.
 
“I’m not disappointed that the streak ended,” said Uehara, whose ERA rose from 1.06 to 1.18. “Of course, I’m disappointed that we lost. But streak-wise, no disappointment.”
 
Uehara, who took his first loss of the season falling to 4-1, said he put no pressure on himself to keep either streak going.
 
“When I was pitching I didn’t think about the streak at all,” he said. “All the disappointment is that the team lost.”
 
Uehara was not upset with his pitch to Valencia, who is batting .529, going 9-for-17, with three doubles, a triple, and a home run against the Sox this season.
 
“It was probably a little bit higher than I wanted,” he said. “But location-wise, I didn’t really miss the spot, but a little bit high.”
 
“He’s human,” said catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia. “He’s still consistent for us, still our guy. He came in there, was throwing real hard. I felt like Valencia might be sitting on soft so we went with fastballs. Made a good pitch. I think Valencia took more of a defensive swing. He’s got good pop and was able to put out there and Vic couldn’t get to it.”
 
“Koji’s been so good for us and even after the run allowed, continued to pitch as he has,” said manager John Farrell. “Didn’t faze him, finished out the inning.”
 
Craig Breslow, who got out of a jam in the eighth inning – relieving Brandon Workman with runners on second and third and no outs – to keep the game tied, is certain it’s just a matter of time before Uehara returns to his previous lights-out form.
 
“I’m pretty confident Koji will start another streak tomorrow,” Breslow said.