Red Sox drop Game 1 to Orioles, 6-5

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Red Sox drop Game 1 to Orioles, 6-5

By Sean McAdam
CSNNE.com Red Sox Insider Follow @sean_mcadam
BOSTON -- Different opponent, same old outcome.

Falling behind early once again, the Red Sox rallied but fell short against the Baltimore Orioles, dropping a 6-5 decision.

Trailing 6-2 in the fifth after the O's had shelled starter Kyle Weiland, the Sox got a run-scoring double from Adrian Gonzalez and a triple from Dustin Pedroia to score twice in the sixth, then added another run on an RBI single from Gonzalez.

But the Sox produced nothing in the final two innings against the Baltimore bullpen and lost for the third straight time and dropped to 4-14 in the month of September.

The defeat enabled the Tampa Bay Rays, who were idle Monday, to move to within a game and a half in the chase for the American League wild card.

Boston got four innings of shutout relief from Felix Doubront and Alfredo Aceves, but the six runs off Weiland -- five of them earned -- proved too much of an obstacle.

Weiland has now made five starts -- three against the Orioles -- and has yet to win. He wasn't helped by some spotty defense, with Darnell McDonald misplaying two balls in the two-run third inning.

STAR OF THE GAME: Nolan Reimold
Reimold was one of two Orioles with two hits (J.J. Hardy was the other) and one of two O's with two RBI (Matt Angle).

He singled with one out in the third to kick-start the two-run third and added a solo homer in the third as the O's raced out to a 5-1 lead.

HONORABLE MENTION: Jeremy Guthrie
Guthrie may have 17 losses, but that's a function of his team and not his performance. Guthrie showed he's capable of keeping his club in the game with six innings in which he allowed four runs.

That may not qualify as a quality start, but it's better than the Red Sox have been getting down the stretch. And, though he had some help from the umpires, Guthrie showed some toughness by stranding runners on third base in both the fourth and fifth innings.

GOAT OF THE GAME: Kyle Weiland
Perhaps the Red Sox are asking too much of Weiland, but the fact remains that he's now winless in his five major league starts and has only pitched past the fifth once.

Monday was no different as Weiland, who was charged with five earned runs in 4 23 innings.

TURNING POINT: In the fifth, with the Sox having scored twice already, David Ortiz appared to have drilled a double down the right field line, which would have brought the Sox to within a run and put the tying run in scoring position.

But first base umpire Mike Winters (incorrectly) ruled the ball was foul and Ortiz eventually flied out to the warning track in center, stranding Dustin Pedroia.

BY THE NUMBERS: The win was the Orioles' first at Fenway this season.

QUOTE OF NOTE: "We need to pitch better, hit better, play better 'D' - we need to do everything better. When you're losing, you can point fingers at everybody.'' -- Dustin Pedroia.

Sean McAdam can be reached at smcadam@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Sean on Twitter at http:twitter.comsean_mcadam

McAdam: More firsts for Ortiz in what looks like stellar final season

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McAdam: More firsts for Ortiz in what looks like stellar final season

CHICAGO -- It could happen Thursday night, or perhaps sometime this weekend in New York, where he always hits well.
      
But sometime soon, David Ortiz is going to tie, then surpass, Carl Yastrzesmski as the second-greatest home run hitter in Red Sox history.
      
Ortiz hit his sixth of the season Wednesday night, giving him 451 for his Red Sox career, one behind Yastrzemski. Ted Williams is, of course, the Red Sox' all-time leader with 521, safely out of reach.
      
"Know what happens when that's happening?'' asked Ortiz, when told of the approaching milestone. "I'm getting old, man. Like I always say, whenever they mention your name right next to the legends, it's something that, humbly I can tell you, is an honor.''
      
What makes Ortiz's spot on the list all the more amazing is that he has reached these heights after being discarded by the Minnesota Twins some 14 years ago.
      
He arrived as a backup first baseman, initially stuck behind Jeremy Giambi on the Red Sox depth chart. He'll retire, later this year, as one of the handful of best hitters the franchise has ever known.
      
On nights like Wednesday, the context seemed to have Ortiz himself in awe.
      
"I was just a guy who was trying to have a good career,'' said Ortiz, “and put (my) family in a better situation. Now, all of a sudden, these things are happening. It's a blessing.''
      
It's a stretch to suggest that these things are happening "all of a sudden.'' To the contrary, they're the result of a remarkable stretch of 14 seasons in Boston.
     
Only now are the numbers coming into focus. And what numbers they are.
      
Beyond Ortiz's ascension on the all-time lists for the both Major League Baseball and the Red Sox in particular are the improbable feats of a 40-year-old who is performing this season at a level that would be impressive for a hitter a decade younger.
      
Consider:
      
* When Ortiz homered off Yankees reliever Dellin Betances last Friday, he did so on a first-pitch curveball. Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated noted that Betances had thrown 355 first-pitch curveballs in his career; Ortiz was the first to hit a homer on one of those pitches.
      
In fact, only six of the first 355 had even been put in play.
      
Ortiz hit his well into the Monster Seats to snap a 2-2 tie and send the Red Sox to a 4-2 victory.
      
* On Wednesday night, Ortiz became the first lefthanded hitter to ever homer off White Sox lefty starter Carlos Rodon.
      
Since last July 2, Ortiz is third among all lefthanded hitters in hitting homers off lefthanded pitchers. That's quite an accomplishment for someone who was being benched as recently as last June against some lefty starters.
     
And what did Rodon learn about that particular showdown?
      
"Don't throw a fastball down the middle to Big Papi,'' said Rodon.
      
Sounds like a good strategy.
      
It's fairly amazing that a 40-year-old, in his final season, is enjoying all these firsts. But Ortiz has lasted this long, and played at such a high level, precisely because he works to get better all the time.
      
Manager John Farrell noted that Ortiz hadn't faced Rodon before Wednesday night and didn't look particularly good in his first two at-bats, grounding into a double play and hitting a flyout.
      
But Ortiz is forever making mental notes, getting ready to make adjustments and process what he's seen.
      
"His retention is great,'' marveled Farrell. "He understands what he's seeing after just one at-bat.''
      
There's still more than five months to go in the regular season and a lot can happen in that span. But after a month in 2016, it seems likely that we are in the midst of one of the greatest final seasons a player has ever enjoyed.