Orioles manager Buck Showalter talks about starting pitcher Kevin Gausman's outing against the Red Sox as well as the pitch that almost hit Manny Machado. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun)
The Orioles stood on the verge of a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox on Sunday. Just not for very long.
The Red Sox greeted Orioles starter Kevin Gausman with four straight hits before there was an out made in the first inning, the last two of which landed beyond the reach of anyone in the Orioles outfield, for back-to-back home runs.
That was about it. The Orioles offense had no answer against former teammate Eduardo Rodriguez, who took a no-hitter bid into the fifth inning on the way to a 6-2 victory before an announced 35,522 at Camden Yards that ended the Orioles' four-game winning streak.
Rodriguez, who was dealt to the Red Sox for premier setup man Andrew Miller in 2014, retired the first nine batters he faced and allowed just the one hit over six innings. He had trouble finding the strike zone in the middle innings and walked five batters to create a couple of scoring opportunities for the Orioles, but got the outs he needed to keep them off the scoreboard.
The closest the Orioles came to making a game of it came in Rodriguez's final inning of work, when Trey Mancini came to the plate with two outs and the bases loaded, every runner having reached base on a walk. Mancini worked a tough at-bat before lining a pitch sharply to third baseman Pablo Sandoval, who dropped the ball but was able to make the force play at second to end the inning.
The Red Sox had some frustration to vent after losing the first two games of the series and veteran second baseman Dustin Pedroia to a knee injury in Friday's opener. They didn't waste any time taking it out on Gausman.
Xander Bogaerts and Andrew Benintendi opened the game with back-to-back singles, and Mookie Betts launched a three-run homer to left field. Moments later, Hanley Ramirez followed suit, and the 4-0 lead remained unchanged until Mitch Moreland hit a towering homer to center field in the fifth.
Gausman settled down in between, retiring 11 of the next 14 batters after Ramirez's homer, but that was a small consolation on a day when he hoped to wipe away the memory of Tuesday night's eight-run meltdown against the Cincinnati Reds. On Sunday, he allowed five earned runs on eight hits over 5 1/3 innings and is now 1-2 with a 7.50 ERA.
The Red Sox also seemed to take their anger out on Manny Machado two days after his hard slide knocked Pedroia out of the series. Reliever Matt Barnes was ejected from the game in the eighth inning after throwing a 90-mph pitch behind Machado's head.
The incident halted the game for a prolonged period while Boston manager John Farrell argued with the umpires and the two teams glared across the field at each other, but there was no on-field confrontation.
Back to back: The consecutive home runs by Betts and Ramirez were the first set of back-to-back homers by the Red Sox this year. The Orioles have done it twice — both times by Mancini and Jonathan Schoop, and both times against the Red Sox.
Bullpen streak over: Orioles relievers came into Sunday's game with a string of 8 1/3 scoreless innings, but it quickly ended after Stefon Crichton allowed an RBI single to Benintendi, the second batter he faced after replacing Gausman in the sixth inning.
Mr. Consistency: Adam Jones, who singled in the eighth inning, has hit safely in eight of his past nine games. Perhaps more impressive, he has failed to hit safely in just two of the Orioles' 17 games. His consistency has not resulted in a gaudy batting average, as he's batting .269, but he has three home runs, nine runs scored and eight RBIs in 66 at-bats.