Orioles stung by Sox's homers in loss
Pitchers allow six long balls; bats shut down by Buchholz
BOSTON -- Those Orioles who were with the club on Sept. 1, 2007, were likely having flashbacks to that evening early in Tuesday's game at Fenway Park. At least until Nick Markakis singled up the middle with two outs in the fourth inning for Baltimore's first hit of the game.
Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz, who no-hit the O's on that night two years ago, set down the first 10 Baltimore batters he faced Tuesday night, before walking Felix Pie with one out in the fourth inning and giving up the single to Markakis two batters later.
But while the O's eliminated the threat of a duplicate no-hitter, they had little answer for Buchholz and the Red Sox, falling, 10-0, in front of 37,647. Buchholz went seven scoreless innings, giving up three hits and a walk with five strikeouts -- a big improvement over his last outing against the Orioles on Aug. 2 in Baltimore, when he allowed seven runs in just four innings.
"He probably looked like a combination of Don Drysdale, Warren Spahn and Sandy Koufax when he got an 8-0 lead," said Orioles manager Dave Trembley.
"I think if you ask any pitcher, they'd like the chance to try to pitch with leads," said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. "He pitched very well. Regardless of what the score was, he pitched really well."
O's starter David Hernandez lasted just 2 2/3 innings, giving up six runs on four hits (all home runs) and two walks with three strikeouts.
After walking Jacoby Ellsbury to open the first inning, Hernandez gave up a two-run homer to the next batter, Dustin Pedroia, and Kevin Youkilis hit a one-out solo shot, giving the Sox a 3-0 lead.
"Well, the one thing we wanted to avoid doing was letting Ellsbury lead off the game by getting on base," Trembley said. "He's got 60 stolen bases and we get ahead in the count and we walk him. And I said before the game, Hernandez has got to be more than a one-pitch guy. You got to be able to back up your pitches, and with the secondary pitches he didn't do that. They just sat on one pitch, his fastball, and he had to come in with it when he got behind, and they hit him.
"So it's a learning experience for him. It's unfortunate for the club that you have to come in there the first game of a series and that's how the momentum changed. He didn't pitch well, that's all."
Alex Gonzalez hit a two-out solo homer in the second, padding the Sox's lead. Then Pedroia opened the fourth with his second homer of the game, notching the first multihomer game of his career. Hernandez got Victor Martinez to ground out to Brian Roberts and Youkilis to pop out, but a walk to David Ortiz ended the night for the O's right-hander.
"I thought I was able to throw my slider for strikes," Hernandez said. "[But catcher] Mattie [Wieters] was calling outside fastballs, and I missed middle-in. It's just unacceptable. I looked at the film already, and all four of those home runs were supposed to be fastballs away and [they were] middle-in right into their wheelhouses.
"It's the tough part -- when you fall behind, you're going to have to throw fastballs. But even if you throw a fastball, if it's well located, it's not going to get hit very hard. And I was just unable to locate a fastball tonight."
Hernandez has given up 17 home runs in his past eight outings, including seven roundtrippers in his past seven innings. He has allowed six home runs to the Red Sox in his past seven innings against them, raising his ERA against Boston from 2.38 entering the game to 5.79 (nine earned runs in 14 innings).
"Right now, it just feels like I'm a thrower out there," Hernandez said. "I'm not pitching at all, and until I figure out how, that's what's going to happen."
Including home runs surrendered by relievers Chris Lambert and Bob McCrory, the O's allowed a season-high six roundtrippers in the game. Lambert relieved Hernandez and promptly gave up a three-run homer to J.D. Drew on his first pitch, giving the Red Sox an 8-0 lead. Boston added a single run in the sixth and another in the seventh on Ortiz's home run off McCrory.
Wieters had two of the three hits off Buchholz.
"He's tough," Wieters said. "He's a guy I haven't had much success off in prior at-bats in the Minor Leagues and the fall league. He's a guy that's really tough, and you just got to try and get a pitch and just try and hit it."
The loss gave the Orioles their 12th consecutive losing season, second only to the Pirates' 17 consecutive losing seasons. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Baltimore is only the fifth team in the past 40 years to suffer through 12 or more consecutive losing seasons. The Orioles are 2-12 against the Red Sox this season, 5-24 against the Sox and Yankees combined and they were shutout for the eighth time Tuesday.
"I think the guys that we thought would get better have gotten better, and the opportunity has been there for people to show what they can do," Trembley said. "I think everybody's pleased with what Wieters and [Nolan] Reimold and [Chris] Tillman and [Brian] Matusz have done. I think everybody's real happy about that. We're going to have to improve our front-line starting pitching to compete in this division.
"Hopefully the experience that guys are getting now will lend itself in a positive way in the future. Sometimes the progress isn't as quickly as you like, and sometimes the lessons that you learn are tough ones. And if Hernandez didn't learn tonight, he never will. You've got to be able to throw something other than a fastball in the middle of the plate, simple as that."
Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.