The stadium scoreboard on the historic left-field wall of Fenway Park told the unusual story of another Orioles loss Sunday. The Orioles had 13 hits, one more than the Boston Red Sox, but failed to score in a 5-0 loss that ended another frustrating road series in perplexing fashion.
An Orioles team that’s found unique ways to lose all season discovered a new one, stranding a season-high 14 base runners.
Each of the Orioles’ first 12 hits were singles. Jace Peterson led off the ninth inning with a double for the first extra-base hit but was stranded at third to end the game.
“I was there,” manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s hard to get 13 hits and not score any runs. We had plenty of opportunities. I thought our guys did a good job off [Red Sox starter] Eduardo [Rodriguez]. We just couldn’t get that big hit to open him up. That’s a tribute to him, but it’s frustrating.”
The game marked the first time in club history that the Orioles recorded 13 or more hits in a nine-inning game and failed to score. The Orioles had 13 hits in a 1-0 15-inning loss on May 14, 1961, in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Cleveland.
“Yeah, I mean things like that happen,” said first baseman Trey Mancini, who left the bases loaded in the sixth inning with a flyout to right field. “I say this all the time, but in baseball, you see something new every day. Yeah, that’s the first time I can remember not scoring a run with that many hits, so a lot of singles spread out and we never really got the big hit.”
It is also the first time in nearly a decade a major league team has been shut out while recording 13 or more hits. The Los Angeles Dodgers had 13 hits in a 5-0 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies on Aug. 25, 2008.
The Orioles’ effort to reverse their early-season road woes fell flat. They dropped three of four at Fenway in their first stop on a three-city, 11-game trip that will now take them to Chicago to play the White Sox and Tampa Bay to play the Rays.
Just a week ago, the Orioles were playing their best stretch of baseball this season, winning five of six at home against the Kansas City Royals and Rays. But after a day off, they were rained out Tueday night, lost to the Philadelphia Phillies on Wednesday and then dropped three of four at Fenway.
“Yeah, that’s tough,” Mancini said. “You want to stay on a roll that you’re on. We dropped the game to the Phillies to end the homestand and then come here and drop three of four and then obviously that’s not ideal. But we’ve still got seven games on this road trip. You’ve just got to keep looking forward.”
They left Boston realizing the wide gap between them and the front-running Red Sox, not only in the American League East standings — the Orioles (14-32) are buried 17½ games out of first through 46 games — but head-to-head as they’ve lost six of seven to the Red Sox this season, all at Fenway.
The Orioles won’t return to Fenway until the final week of the season, and by that time, they might be a much different-looking team.
The road continues to bring out the worst in the Orioles, who are 4-19 away from Camden Yards this season, the worst road record in the majors.
Orioles rookie right-hander David Hess allowed three homers — including two to J.D. Martinez — and five runs total over 4 2/3 innings. Through four innings, he allowed just one run — a solo homer to Martinez to open the second inning — but he allowed hits to four of six batters he faced in the fifth, including two-run homers to Andrew Benintendi and Martinez, before he was pulled that inning by Showalter.
No. 9 hitter Jackie Bradley Jr.’s leadoff double in the fifth turned the lineup over, and the game got away from Hess. Two batters later, Benintendi took a 2-1 fastball over the Orioles bullpen beyond the right-field fence.
Hess allowed a ground-rule double to right to Mitch Moreland, and then threw a 1-0 four-seamer that Martinez hit into the deepest part of Fenway, over the 420-foot sign in the triangular area of center field.
“They definitely made some adjustments quick, and you have to be able to adjust just as quick because that’s a lineup that from top to bottom can be dangerous,” Hess said.
Eight of the nine Orioles starters recorded hits — which is typically a good omen — but not Sunday. The Orioles had at least one base runner in every inning and placed multiple runners on base in three of their first six innings but failed to score against Rodriguez.
They put two on with one out in the third, but Manny Machado popped up to third and Jonathan Schoop grounded out to third. They put two on with two outs in the fourth before Craig Gentry flied out to center, and in the sixth they loaded the bases with two outs on singles by bottom-of-the-order bats Danny Valencia, Joey Rickard and Gentry, but Red Sox reliever Heath Hembree entered the game to retire leadoff hitter Trey Mancini on a flyout to right.
Rodriguez, a former Orioles farmhand, allowed nine hits but struck out seven and didn’t issue a walk in 5 2/3 innings. Rodriguez hasn’t allowed a run against his former team in two starts this season spanning 11 2/3 innings.