BOSTON - With the closer's job comes the challenge of bouncing back after a blown save, a heart-wrenching defeat, a crowd of reporters waiting at your locker. Orioles left-hander B.J. Ryan was prepared for it all yesterday, but that didn't make it any easier.
Ryan hadn't allowed a run in May spanning 16 games, and his only failed save attempt in 15 chances came when an inherited runner scored in the eighth inning of a May 10 loss to the Minnesota Twins. He was the right man to take the ball yesterday with a one-run lead to protect, but David Ortiz's three-run homer with two outs came at the wrong time, giving the Boston Red Sox a 6-4 victory.
"He's a guy who will come back out tomorrow and want the ball again," manager Lee Mazzilli said.
The Red Sox didn't get it out of the infield before Ortiz cranked a 3-2 pitch into the center-field seats. Mark Bellhorn reached on a swinging bunt and Edgar Renteria laid one down with two outs, leaving third baseman Melvin Mora without a play.
"That surprised me because I was just trying to cover the [line] for a double," Mora said.
Ryan threw nothing but fastballs to Ortiz, the last one hanging in the strike zone. Ryan didn't want to load the bases. He certainly didn't want to end the game that way.
"He gave a good [at-bat]," Ryan said. "I threw a pitch up, left it over the plate and he hit it. Sometimes they get you.
"If you never gave up a run, it would be easy. But this is what makes it tough. This is when you've got to get there the next day and know that everybody's done it, everybody's been there. You've just got to deal with it today and go out and get them tomorrow. It just comes with the territory."
The Orioles split the four-game series and head to Detroit for the continuation of a 14-day road trip. Satisfaction comes with drawing so close to taking three of four from the Red Sox, but the clubhouse was quiet after the game.
"That's a tough loss, the way the guys battled, coming into this ballpark and being a little short-handed," Mazzilli said. "They battled their [butts] off and took the lead. Yeah, that's a tough loss, regardless if we won two."
When Sammy Sosa connected off Tim Wakefield in Wednesday night's game, he had no idea that he made history.
Sosa went the longest period of time between home runs in the same ballpark, a total of 5,824 days. His first major league homer came at Fenway Park on June 21, 1989.
The previous record was held by Luke Appling, who went 5,810 days between homers at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis from 1933 to 1949.
C. Smith saga ends
Left-hander Chris Smith, the seventh overall pick in the 2001 draft, has been released by the Orioles after 13 relief appearances at Single-A Delmarva.
Smith was 1-1 with an 8.54 ERA for the Shorebirds. He appeared in four games at short-season Aberdeen in 2004 before the Orioles shut him down because of a strained left shoulder.
He underwent surgery on his left rotator cuff in August 2002 and missed the entire 2003 season while rehabbing.
Around the horn
Pitcher Erik Bedard (sprained knee) and center fielder Luis Matos (broken finger) will be examined in Baltimore today. ... Tim Raines Jr. cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Ottawa. ... Reliever Todd Williams has stranded 15 of 16 inherited runners, passing Cleveland's David Riske for the best percentage in the American League. He left the bases loaded in the seventh yesterday.