The Orioles wrapped up their four-game series at Fenway Park with an 11:05 a.m. start on Patriots' Day, an official holiday here in Massachusetts.
On the third Monday of every April, the Boston Marathon race course winds just beyond Fenway Park's Green Monster as New Englanders celebrate the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord, the first battles of the Revolutionary War.
The Orioles had a chance to make their own history and extend their recent dominance over the Red Sox at Fenway, but on a dreary, rainy Monday, their play was as sloppy as the weather.
They committed a season-high three errors in a 7-1, rain-shortened loss to the Red Sox in front of an announced sellout crowd of 36,829 in a game that was called after 6 ½ innings and a 1 hour, 42-minute rain delay.
The Orioles (7-6) fell out of a first-place tie with the Red Sox and split their four game series with Boston, just the third time in their past 11 series at Fenway the Orioles didn't claim a series win.
"A long four days," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Four-game series are really tough, especially when you're playing a team you're going to play what, 19-20 times. Just the start of a long trek through the American League. We know we have to come here two more times and they're going to see us. We've got to do the things to stay competitive but nothing's revealed itself here that we weren't expecting."
Orioles left-hander Wei-Yin Chen walked five batters, tying a career high, and committed a crucial fielding error that fueled a four-run third inning.
"I didn't allow a lot of hard-hit balls out there but I think I was trying to be too fine," Chen said through interpreter Louis Chao. "I didn't have a large strike zone. So there [were] a lot of walks. I kind of feel bad for my teammates out there because my performance cost them out there."
Three of those walks – and Chen's error – occurred in that fateful four-run third inning
"I'll chalk that up to conditions," Showalter said. "Everybody who was in the game was having trouble throwing the ball where they wanted to, but it's a convenient excuse. Both teams were playing underneath the same conditions and we knew when we came here today it was going to be a challenge. It was kind of frustrating because we thought there was a game there to be won if we could have thrown the ball over the plate a little bit more."
With the game tied at 1 and two on with no out, Red Sox leadoff hitter Mookie Betts hit a comebacker that hit off Chen's glove and landed left of the mound. Chen chased the ball, but dropped it, allowing Xander Bogaerts to score. Chen loaded the bases again with a two-out walk to Allen Craig, then walked Mike Napoli, allowing Ryan Hanigan to score.
The Red Sox (8-5) then opened up the game on Manny Machado's two-run fielding error. Shane Victorino hit a chopper to third that Machado tried to backhand, but the ball skipped up on his glove and into foul ground behind the bag, allowing Betts and Craig to score.
Boston led after the first inning. After a leadoff single, Betts stole second base and went to third when catcher Ryan Lavarnway's throw was wide and skipped into center field. Betts scored, giving the Red Sox a 1-0 lead.
"I thought Wei-Yin deserved better than he got today," Lavarnway said. "He was pitching good, and I think if we don't make any errors, they don't score any runs off him."
On the day, Chen allowed five runs – all of them unearned – on just three hits over 4 1/3 innings, marking the second time in three starts this season that he hasn't gotten out of the fifth inning.
"I just don't think that he's had the kind of consistent command like he will," Showalter said. "I also think on the days when he's got a breaking ball, something off-speed to make people think, with that command he can make it look easy. But he just hasn't been consistent there. Usually he bites back when he's had some things [go wrong]. He doesn't like not being good."
The Orioles tied the game in the second inning on Ryan Flaherty's opposite-field RBI double off the Green Monster in left. The hit scored Travis Snider, who led off the inning with a triple on a hit to center field that skipped past Betts and rolled to the wall.
The Red Sox added two runs in the sixth off Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia, who was making his first appearance in 10 days.
Hanigan, who was hit by a pitch with one out in the inning, scored on Dustin Pedroia's double on a ball that was hit down the third-base line and died in the left-field corner. After Garcia intentionally walked Ortiz, Craig's RBI single to center scored Pedroia.
The Orioles, who had a combined 28 hits the previous two games, managed just four hits before the game was called. But it was the three errors – their most since last Sept. 25, their 6-5 walk-off loss in Derek Jeter's final home game at Yankee Stadium – that cost them the most.