BOSTON — Orioles left-hander Wade Miley went into his start Monday night at Fenway Park carrying a few extra ticks on his fastball and what he believed was a strong gameplan in his first start against his former team.
But Miley's night was a short one – the shortest of his six-year major league career. He retired just four batters in a 12-2 loss to the division-leading Boston Red Sox in front of an announced sellout crowd of 37,551.
"Things kind of unraveled," Miley said. "I feel like everything I threw, they just kind of hammered. … They just came out swinging. Probably the best I've felt in a while. They came out and attacked. I didn't make the adjustment early enough. They had some jam jobs in there. Who knows. It just happened fast. It happened real quick and it was done with."
Miley, the trade deadline acquisition who was supposed to bolster the Orioles' starting rotation, lasted just 1 1/3 innings, allowing 10 of the 12 batters he faced to reach base.
"Command got him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "And they're a really good offensive club like we are and they're going to make you pay for those mistakes. [He] made a lot of them. Kept hoping he might find his step, but he didn't. They hit a lot of balls hard and they kind of flip one over first base and you know it's not going to be his night. He's not the only one. We had trouble pitching with other people, too."
Given the importance of this three-game series – the Orioles entered trailing the division-leading Red Sox by two games – the result was one of the team's worst losses of the season. The 10-run margin of defeat marked the Orioles' most lopsided loss since a 14-4 game on Aug. 26 at Yankee Stadium.
The Orioles (78-65) arrived at Fenway Park on Monday having taken two of three games from the Detroit Tigers on the road this past weekend, but any momentum they brought into their pivotal division series with the Red Sox quickly died as Miley struggled.
The Orioles not only fell three games back of the Red Sox, but also moved out of a tie with the Toronto Blue Jays for the first AL wild-card spot.
As for Miley, he's struggled remarkably, posting an 8.41 ERA in eight starts with the Orioles. He has just one quality start over that span, and has also failed to get out of the second inning in two of his last five outings. Miley was shelled for six runs on six hits over 1 2/3 innings against Houston on Aug. 19, after his offense spotted him with four homers in the first inning.
Asked to assess his body of work with the Orioles, a frustrated Miley said, "Obviously, I mean, that's not really a good question. I mean obviously haven't been really good.
"I don't know," Miley said when asked what is holding him back. "I mean, if I knew I wouldn't be in this position right now."
Miley – who pitched for the Red Sox in 2014 but never faced them – allowed hits to the first five hitters, loading the bases on three straight singles to open the game before Orioles killer Mookie Betts laced a two-run double into left field. One batter later, Hanley Ramirez's RBI single plated another run, and Betts sped home from third when the Orioles slowly got the ball into the infield.
Trailing 5-1, Miley – who was carrying a fastball that averaged 93.9 mph, more than two mph faster than any of his previous three starts – was pulled from the game after loading the bases with one out in the second.
"I think [it's] command," Showalter said. "He's struggling a little bit with his delivery, trying to find it. It's a tough time to be searching for it. It's there. He just hasn't been able to get to it and tonight was an example of that. He's capable of better."
The Orioles had just two hits off Boston left-hander David Price, both of them solo homers.
Chris Davis hit his 37th home run of the season with two outs in the second inning, and Manny Machado tied his career high with his 35th homer of the season with one out in the fourth.
That was the Orioles' entire offense.
The Red Sox's 16-hit attack included three homers off Orioles relievers, all solo shots. Ramirez homered in the fourth and Chris Young in the fifth, both blasts coming off right-hander Vance Worley. And David Ortiz hit his 33rd homer of the season off right-hander Oliver Drake in the sixth.
Price is right: Price won his seventh straight start, improving his record to 16-8 while retiring 24 of 27 Orioles batters. He struck out nine and walked none.
Price, Boston's big-ticket free-agent signing this offseason after inking a seven-year, $217-million deal that includes an opt-out after 2018, has posted a 2.16 ERA over his last seven starts.
"A guy like David is pitching as well as anybody in baseball right now," Showalter said. "That's why he can command those types of [financial] commitments that they made to him. Tonight's a good example of how important those guys are. He's become so much of a pitcher and now his stuff is up to par, too, so you give him really four pitches to work with, it's a tough proposition."
Over his last two outings against the Orioles, Price has allowed just three runs over 15 innings, posting a 1.93 ERA. His career 2.83 ERA against the Orioles ranks second best among active major league pitchers with at least 10 starts (former Red Sox left-hander Jon Lester leads with a 2.78 ERA).
Orioles lose critical replay review: On the third batter of the game, the Red Sox loaded the bases on Ortiz's hit into left-center field, a ball Steve Pearce attempted to make a play on, but was ruled to be a be a base hit after it popped out of his glove.
The hit loaded the bases and one batter later, Betts' two-run double opened up a five-run first inning off Miley.
Showalter challenged the call, which was upheld, but both Pearce and Showalter contended Pearce caught the ball and lost it on the exchange to his throwing hand.
"I know I caught the ball," Pearce said. "I felt it bounce around at first, but I felt like I had a tight grip around the ball. I tried to get it in too fast and that's when I lost control of it. I saw it on video."
Showalter said Pearce aggravated his elbow on a throw from the outfield early in the game. He remained in the game and is day to day.
Thank goodness for expanded rosters: Miley's short exit forced the Orioles to use four relievers – Worley, Drake, left-hander Brian Duensing and left-hander Jayson Aquino.
Duensing allowed two runs on three hits in the seventh and Aquino, making his first appearance since joining the team when rosters expanded earlier this month, tossed a scoreless eighth inning. The Red Sox scored in each of the first seven innings.