By Maureen Mullen
CSNNE.com Follow @maureenamullen
BOSTON The Red Sox 7-5 loss to the Orioles Tuesday night at Fenway Park could be their most discouraging loss of the season, falling to the team with the American Leagues second-worst record and the third-worst record in baseball.
There were plenty of reasons for the loss poor pitching, lack of timely hitting (the Sox were 5-for-12 with runners in scoring position) and sloppy defense.
Nursing a tenuous one-run lead in the eighth inning, Daniel Bard gave up two singles with a strikeout in between, before being lifted for Jonathan Papelbon. After another strikeout, Papelbon loaded the bases before giving up the devastating three-run double to O's lead-off batter Robert Andino that crushed the Sox.
The performance of starter Erik Bedard did little to inspire confidence in the starting pitching that has been horrendous this month. Bedard lasted just 2 23 innings, giving up four runs (one earned) on five hits and two walks with no strikeouts. He threw 76 pitches 51 in the third inning, tying a major-league high for one inning this season. Despite his performance, Bedards outing actually lowered the ERA of Sox starting pitchers in September from 6.87 to 6.77.
With one run already across in the top of the third, Josh Reddicks error on what would have been the third out instead opened the door for the Os to add three more runs.
The only thing to mitigate the sting of such an embarrassing loss was the Rays loss to the Yankees in New York, cutting the Sox magic number to clinch the AL wild card to seven.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen.