Boston Red Sox hitters get bats going in 7-4 loss to Baltimore
BOSTON — When Ryan Weber came out of the Boston Red Sox dugout at the start of Sunday's game at Fenway Park, the right-handed pitcher dropped his warm-up ball. It was an omen.
The Sox's starting pitcher did not get out of the fourth inning. He gave up six earned runs and the Red Sox never recovered, losing 7-4 to the Baltimore Orioles. The Sox lost two out of three to the Orioles in the season-opening series.
"Every loss, no matter who is the team, every loss matters," said Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez, who had two of his team's seven hits and one of two solo home runs.
"It's tough to lose at home more, because we know this field," he said. "We need to protect our home, no matter what. Every loss matters here. It's a short season, and we need to start hitting.
"We're slow. Our bats stayed in [preseason] camp."
The Red Sox did make it interesting when Xander Bogaerts hit a two-run single in the sixth inning off of reliever Miguel Castro. That cut the Baltimore lead to 6-4.
But the Red Sox could muster nothing against relievers Tanner Scott and Cole Sulser. In fact, Boston did not get a runner past first base over the final three innings.
Vazquez, who hit a solo home run in the second inning, singled inside the bag at first with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Alex Verdugo, who went 3 for 4 in his Red Sox debut on Saturday, finished off an 0-for-4 day by striking out on three pitches. Verdugo got nothing out of the infield all day, and struck out twice.
It was the second consecutive day where Orioles hitters bashed out 10 hits against the Red Sox staff. It was also the second rough outing for a Sox starter.
On Saturday, free agent signee Martin Perez gave up five runs in the first two innings in a 7-2 win. Sunday afternoon, Weber did not do any better.
The right hander, who was making only his fourth career start with the Red Sox, gave up six earned runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked three and did not strike out anybody.
"I fell behind, which is never good and having to come back and be too fine with some pitches. Then obviously you're in a lot of hitter's counts and you're going to groove some pitches." Weber said. "They were comfortable at the plate, as you saw. I wasn't able to fool anyone. Just the fact that I was falling behind, and when I got ahead, I wasn't staying ahead.
"I really didn't execute many pitches that well."
Compounding the felony for the Red Sox was that, for the second day, an offense that erupted for 13 runs in the opener could not put a big number on the board.
Through five innings, the Red Sox had two hits — solo home runs by Vazquez in the second and Kevin Pillar in the fifth. They only scored two more runs the rest of the way.
"Even though we love our offense and we think we're going to score runs, it's still tough when you get down early," Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke said. "Sometimes you're able to bounce back right away if you can get some early runs to make it close. Then, all of a sudden, the momentum changes and it's a great feeling on the bench and we know we're going to come back.
"[Wade] LeBlanc did a nice job of keeping us off balance. We got the two homers off him, but he threw a real good ball game."
LeBlanc got the win for Baltimore. The crafty lefty went 5 2/3 innings, giving up four runs on four hits. He didn't walk anyone and struck out four. He left the game in the sixth after Rafael Devers doubled down the left-field line. Miguel Castro, the first of three relievers, gave up a two-run single to Bogaerts, but then got Pillar to force Bogaerts at second to end the inning.
Baltimore, meanwhile took the lead for keeps with a two-out rally in the first inning.
Weber got the first two hitters he faced before giving up a single to former Sox infielder Jose Iglesias. Iglesias, by the way, finished 4 for 5.
Rio Ruiz was the next hitter and he belted an 83-mile-an-hour cutter into the Red Sox bullpen.
Vazquez made it 2-1 in the second, but Iglesias answered in the top of the third inning with an RBI double that scored Anthony Santander all the way from first base.
Santander gave the Orioles some breathing room when he hit a 3-2 pitch from Weber into the right field stands. That gave the Orioles a 6-1 cushion. While the Red Sox did trim the lead, they were unable to catch up.
Cole Sulser picked up his first Major League save. He struck out two of the final three hitters he faced, Andrew Benintendi and Verdugo.
The Red Sox will host the New York Mets for two games, starting tonight. Then the Sox will head to New York for three games against the Yankees, and after an off-day, two games at Tampa Bay.
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