BALTIMORE - The Baltimore Orioles have a way with orchestrating late-inning come-from-behind victories. It looked as if another one was in the works on Saturday.
However, this one fell just short.
The Orioles fell 5-4 to the Boston Red Sox before 42,422 at Camden Yards, after scoring two runs in the bottom of the ninth and ending anti-climatically.
Matt Wieters smashed a one-out, two-run homer to right off Boston closer Andrew Bailey to cut the Red Sox lead to one. J.J. Hardy then singled to right to get the tying run on.
Alexi Casilla, the fastest guy on the team, pinch-ran for Hardy with Ryan Flaherty at the plate. Casilla, usually excellent on the basepaths, ended up making a huge mistake this time.
Flaherty hit a liner to right field that was caught by Boston right fielder Shane Victorino. Casilla, however, never looked and ran all the way to third. Victorino threw it to first to tag him up and end the game.
"[I] thought no chance he was going to catch that ball. I guess I kept running. Bad read. I got to third and said, 'What happened?' Casilla said. "That was the worst baserunning in the game."
Wieters said the loss was a culmination of miscues the team made throughout, not just the final play.
"It's a game where all the little things add up at the end," Wieters said. "We fell just short today."
Baltimore (39-30) hurt itself numerous times after jumping out to a quick 2-0 lead. The Orioles scored both runs before even recording an out.
The first was scored on a Manny Machado RBI double to left, his major league-leading 31st which extended his hit streak to a career-high 13 games. Adam Jones later legged out an RBI single.
However, Baltimore left runners on second and third to end the inning. After that, the Orioles mustered just three more hits against Red Sox starter John Lackey (4-5).
Those three hits produced nothing, as twice the runner was thrown out attempting to steal and the third resulted in a double play. It was the first time this year Baltimore had been caught stealing twice in a game.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he doesn't feel the team hurt itself on the basepaths, a suit it's usually strong in, and has faith in his players' judgment.
"That's one of the reasons why we are where we are competitively, because of guys who have that mentality," Showalter said. "I support it and I'm glad they're doing what they're doing."
Lackey has had success against Baltimore in the past, now owning a 12-4 record against the Orioles in 20 career starts. Out of those 20 starts, he has given up three runs or less in 18 of them.
Saturday, he gave up just two runs on seven hits over seven innings.
The early two-run lead was not enough for Freddy Garcia (3-4). For the first three innings, he gave up only two hits and surrendered no runs.
After that, Garcia's performance went downhill. He gave up five runs on eight hits over 5 1-3 innings, and took the loss.
Mike Carp hit a one-out two-run homer to tie the game in the top of the fourth. Three batters later, Stephen Drew hit an RBI double to give the Red Sox (42-28) a 3-2 lead.
The runs ended Boston's 18-inning scoreless drought.
Dustin Pedroia later added an RBI groundout and Jonny Gomes crushed a solo homer to straightaway center.
Garcia has yet to have back-to-back quality starts for Baltimore.
In the fourth, Garcia dealt with a controversial call. It appeared that he struck out Pedroia swinging, but home-plate umpire Jeff Nelson ruled that Pedroia foul tipped it.
Garcia, catcher Taylor Teagarden, and Showalter argued, but to no avail.
"That was a really bad call and I lose a little of my concentration," Garcia said. "It shouldn't happen. I've been in it for so long. I don't think my emotions should take me out of the game, but it did for a little bit. And they became big innings."
Boston snapped a five-game losing streak in Baltimore, the longest it had had since 1970.
The Red Sox also extended their lead in the AL East back to 2 1-2 games over the Orioles. Wieters said they expect these close games with their division rival, as they attempt to pull out a series win today.
"They're a good team and they're a tough team, so every game is going to be a grind-it-out," Wieters said. "They just came out on top today and we'll be ready to go tomorrow."
NOTES: The latest All-Star voting update came out Saturday. Markakis passed Detroit's Torii Hunter for the third outfield spot, as the Orioles now have four players in position to earn starting spots He leads by just over 40,000 votes. Markakis joins Jones, Hardy, and Chris Davis, who now leads at first base by over a million votes over Detroit's Prince Fielder. Wieters and Machado remain in second at their respective positions. ... Showalter said the team asked Jason Hammel to not show up on Saturday, as he is still dealing with a virus. Hammel is still expected to start Monday. ... Wei-Yin Chen threw off a full mound Saturday and was fine. It is expected his next step will be pitching a simulated game in Sarasota. ... Brian Roberts will accompany the team on the next road trip to Detroit and Toronto beginning Monday. Showalter said he hopes Roberts can begin a rehab assignment when the team returns. ... Baltimore Ravens wide receiver, and recent Dancing with the Stars contestant, Jacoby Jones threw out the ceremonial first pitch.