Even though the Orioles entered their final series of the season chasing little more than pride, the American League East champion Boston Red Sox came to Camden Yards with plenty to play for. Boston entered its three-game series at Camden Yards with a two-game lead over the Oakland Athletics for the AL's best record — and home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
The Orioles' playoff aspirations died Tuesday, but they still have the opportunity to play spoiler in their final three games of the season, much like two seasons ago, when they helped knock visiting Boston out of playoff contention on the final day of the season.
“We did it two years ago, and we're going to do it again,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said before Friday's game. “It has nothing to do with trying to rain on somebody's parade. It's just compete and do what's right. Usually, when that's the challenge, to do what's right, our guys do that.”
On the field, the Orioles did little right in a 12-3 loss in front of an announced 30,774 at Camden Yards.
The 12 runs the Orioles allowed Friday were the most in exactly a month. They lost, 13-2, at Boston on Aug. 27.
A day after sitting out with a sore left foot, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis extended his franchise-record home run total with his 53rd homer of the season, a sixth-inning solo blast into the Orioles bullpen in left-center field.
It was also Davis' 28th homer at home this season, setting a new franchise mark for home runs in a season in Baltimore. Frank Robinson hit 27 in 1966 at Memorial Stadium.
But Orioles right-hander Scott Feldman, who had allowed three or fewer runs in each of his previous eight starts, allowed a season-high eight earned runs over 21/3 innings in his shortest outing of the season.
The eight earned runs Feldman allowed matched his previous five starts combined, a span of 35 innings. Feldman was going for his fifth quality start in six outings.
“He's going to be somebody that people are going to want, including us,” Showalter said. “He's solid. Tonight wasn't the night, though, and that's frustrating for him. I would have liked for him to finish the season on a note that's more indicative of how he's pitched this year.”
Before the Orioles (83-77) stepped up for their first at-bat of the game, they already trailed by five runs. Five of the first six Red Sox hitters reached base against Feldman, who battled through a 32-pitch opening frame, and the team batted around in the top of the first.
The big blow was a three-run homer by Daniel Nava, which followed back-to-back singles by Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz and an RBI double by Mike Napoli.
Nava then took a first-pitch hanging curveball into the right-field seats for his 12th homer of the season.
After Feldman (5-6) issued a walk to Jonny Gomes, Stephen Drew laced a 2-2 pitch down the right-field line and into the corner for an RBI triple and a 5-0 Boston lead.
“Any time I made a mistake, they pretty much put the good part of the bat on it and hit it pretty well,” Feldman said.
The Red Sox (97-63) piled on three more runs in the third inning. With two on and one out, Jarrod Saltalamacchia hit a ball near the right-field grounds crew shed in right-center field that was initially ruled a three-run homer.
But after reviewing the play, the umpires overturned the homer. Replays showed that the ball hit the top of the right-field wall padding and bounced back in. Saltalamacchia was credited with a ground-rule double, and two runs scored.
Saltalamacchia eventually scored on Drew's RBI single.
Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz (12-1) allowed more than two runs for just the second time this season in 15 starts. He had allowed just two homers all year heading into his final regular-season series, but he allowed two Friday night.
Orioles center fielder Adam Jones hit his 33rd homer of the season, tying his career high set last year, with a third-inning two-run blast to straightaway center field, cutting the lead to 8-2.
With one out in the sixth, Davis took a low, outside first-pitch changeup over the left-center-field fence for his 53rd homer and 138th RBI, both of which lead the majors.
Ortiz hit a three-run homer off Orioles left-hander Mike Belfiore, who was making his major league debut, in the eighth inning, his 30th of the season. The homer tied Ortiz with Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr. for 45th on the all-time home run list, with 431.
Belfiore also allowed a solo homer to Gomes in the top of the ninth that extended Boston's lead to 12-3.
“They came out and swung the bats,” shortstop J.J. Hardy said. “They hit some good pitches and they put up a lot of runs. It's wasn't that we weren't trying. They just hit some good pitches.”
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