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Baltimore Orioles

Orioles tally 15 hits but can’t keep up with Red Sox in 13-9 loss as playoff chances take a hit with 8 to play

BOSTON — To look away from the diamond Tuesday night was to shirk the ridiculous, overlook the ludicrous and ignore the constant cracks of the bat that prefaced the cheers or groans around Fenway Park. It was an endless cycle, leaving pitchers shaking their heads as runners whirled around the basepaths at a breakneck pace.

In just the first four innings between the Red Sox and Orioles — an affair that took as long as some nine-inning games do — there were team records set, a major league record tied and a total of 22 runs scored. There was Anthony Santander clobbering his sixth home run in his last four games and fourth in two nights. There was Kyle Bradish and Jake Reed plunking batters with the bases loaded.

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Take a baseball bingo board and prepare to yell out, the board utterly completed. The 13-9 win for the Red Sox over the Orioles had it all — all except the much-needed win for Baltimore (80-74) to keep pace with the Seattle Mariners in a race for the final American League wild-card spot with just eight games to play.

“We know that time’s running out,” Santander said through team interpreter Brandon Quinones. “But there’s still time to do what we need to do.”

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Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander stands in front of the scoreboard showing the Red Sox leading 13-8 in the fourth inning on Tuesday at Fenway Park in Boston. Santander had his second straight multi-homer game but Baltimore couldn't keep up in a 13-9 loss.

The offensive outpouring from both sides continued Monday’s theme, in which Baltimore beat Boston, 14-8, to get the final road trip of the season off on a positive note. Despite all the runs scored, the Orioles only needed three pitchers, saving arms for what turned into a wild second game of the four-game set.

It started with Bradish, who was coming off 8 2/3 dominant innings against the Houston Astros on Thursday. But the command he displayed last week abandoned him in his 2 1/3 innings Tuesday, as he recorded the lowest strike rate of his career thus far (51.8%) with four walks, a hit batter and seven runs allowed.

At 60 pitches through two innings, manager Brandon Hyde knew “we had some issues there.”

While Bradish’s curveball and slider were his two best pitches against the Astros, he leaned on his four-seam fastball more frequently because Bradish threw first-pitch strikes to just seven of the 18 batters he faced.

“They weren’t landing for strikes,” Bradish said. “Houston, everything was working for me. Today, nothing really.”

And the flow of runs didn’t end there, with right-handers Joey Krehbiel and Reed combining to give up six runs over the next two innings as a second error by second baseman Rougned Odor proved costly. Rookie left-hander DL Hall stemmed that flow with two scoreless innings with three strikeouts, and Bryan Baker, Cionel Pérez and Dillon Tate each added a scoreless frame to keep the Orioles within striking distance.

But using Baker, Pérez and Tate wasn’t ideal for Hyde, tiring a bullpen that has already been taxed the last four games. The onus goes on right-hander Dean Kremer on Wednesday to produce a lengthy outing.

“With the last two games [against] Houston where we used the bullpen, and the way the game went last night, it was going to be hard to finish the game,” Hyde said. “Fortunately, we did. Unfortunately, I had to use a few guys I didn’t want to use.”

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The Orioles had the offensive firepower necessary to pull out a win, but the unsteadiness of Baltimore’s pitching staff in those first four innings left it far behind. Adley Rutschman snuck a long ball around Pesky’s Pole in right field in the third and Santander continued a strong stretch at the plate with two more home runs. With those two blasts, Santander became the first player to hit homers from both sides of the plate in the same game four times in a season since San Diego’s Ken Caminiti in 1996.

“The personal stuff is great,” Santander said. “I’m happy I was able to come through and come up with those big hits to get the team in front and tie the game in those big situations. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get the result we wanted tonight.”

Ramón Urías, back in the lineup and playing third base after missing the last two games as he dealt with a spasm between his neck and right shoulder, was a double away from the cycle. But Urías didn’t have a chance to reach that milestone, leaving in the fifth inning with right knee discomfort. He left the field limping in the second inning after an awkward slide into home plate, then needed help to limp off the field in the fifth. Hyde said the team would evaluate Urías further on Wednesday.

Orioles third baseman Ramon Urías gets the home run chain around his neck after hitting a solo shot in the fourth inning Tuesday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park in Boston.

Before the sixth inning, the Orioles had at least one base runner on in each of the first 14 innings of the series. They jumped on right-hander Michael Wacha, hitting at least three triples and three homers in the same game for the first time in franchise history. Wacha was doomed to the shortest start of his season, allowing six runs on eight hits in 3 1/3 frames.

“We told ourselves to try to get in front in counts, not fall behind in two-strike counts,” Santander said. “Make him pitch to us and go out there and be aggressive when we face him.”

But that dent on Wacha’s season was overshadowed by the crunch taken by Baltimore’s pitching staff.

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The Orioles threatened one last time, loading the bases in the ninth inning. But a double play from Austin Hays ended that opportunity — and ended the game, dropping Baltimore’s magic number for elimination to six.

After the game, Santander emphasized that Wednesday is a new day, a new opportunity. Those days are running out, however. And with each loss, reality creeps closer, even as Orioles players repeat a similar mantra with just over a week remaining.

“There’s still a possibility,” Bradish said.

Orioles outfielder Kyle Stowers takes in his surroundings as infielder Gunnar Henderson signs his first name on the ceiling of the Green Monster inside Fenway Park in Boston before Tuesday's game against the Red Sox.

Marking the Green Monster

With wide eyes, Kyle Stowers and Gunnar Henderson poked their heads into the Green Monster, then searched for a place to sign their names. There’s tradition here — for new players who visit Fenway Park, they have the chance to leave their mark.

And while Stowers already did that in a way Monday with an RBI triple off the giant wall, he and Henderson wielded markers instead of bats Tuesday afternoon. They found a spot on the low concrete ceiling, where Henderson signed just his first name: Gunnar.

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“That’s how you know you’re big time,” Stowers joked. “You can sign just your first name.”

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Hall and Reed also signed the wall, making their first trip to the historic venue. As they looked around, they commented on some names they saw, including former Orioles infielder Pat Valaika. Reed signed his name next to Kremer and Nick Vespi.

Around the horn

  • Hyde said right-hander Mike Baumann will start for the Orioles in Thursday’s series finale. Baumann earns his second consecutive start after right-hander Tyler Wells’ season ended on the 15-day injured list due to right shoulder inflammation. Last time out, Baumann allowed two runs in four innings against the Astros.
  • Infielder Terrin Vavra said he felt a “zinger” in his left hamstring as he ran out a double play Sunday, holding him out of the lineup for the second straight game. He said he was available off the bench if required, but so close to the end of the season, Vavra said he doesn’t “want to do anything that’s too aggressive” to cause a larger issue.

ORIOLES@RED SOX

Wednesday, 7:10 p.m.

TV: MASN2

Radio: 97.9 FM, 101.5 FM, 1090 AM

Orioles second baseman Rougned Odor, bottom, is forced out at second base as Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts, top, turns a double play on Austin Hays to end the game Tuesday at Fenway Park in Boston.

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