BOSTON — Now that the Orioles put their club-record 13-game road losing streak in the past, they were hoping to start some winning momentum Saturday night in Boston.
Instead, the Orioles — despite matching the Red Sox with six hits apiece — struck out 13 times in a 6-3 loss on a rain-soaked night at Fenway Park.
“It’s them and us,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “It’s something we’ve been challenged with and [it’s magnified] when you face even better pitching. … You look at the guys they ran out there at the end (closer Craig Kimbrel), the starting pitching. That’s why you make commitments like that to those type of people. They’re good pitchers.”
Right-hander Dylan Bundy gave a gritty performance, striking out eight and going six innings despite early pitch-count issues, but made three costly mistakes that the Red Sox hit out for home runs.
With the loss, the Orioles (14-31) dropped to 4-18 on the road this season.
“It’s always tough when you’re not really winning ballgames,” catcher Chance Sisco said. “We’re going to keep going out there every night. We’re going to give it our all, try to swing some good innings together on offense and defense and try to get some wins. We’re doing what we can right now. We’re going to go out there, and we’re going to play our hardest, whether we’re winning or losing.”
In a three-run Red Sox fifth inning, Bundy (2-6) allowed back-to-back homers to Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi to snap a 1-1 tie. Rafael Devers also homered in the fourth.
“Just three bad pitches and they took advantage of them and put four runs on the board,” Bundy said.
Saturday marked the third time in Bundy’s past four outings that he’s allowed three or more homers. He has yielded 12 homers in his past five starts after yielding just one in his first five starts thisseason, forcing him to be more efficient with his pitches to get through six innings.
The back-breaker was the two-run blast he allowed to Betts in the fifth, leaving a fastball up in a 2-1 count. Bundy immediately grimaced as he watched Betts’ major league-leading 15th homer of the season land over the Green Monster.
“I had a good game plan,” Bundy said. “Just had one fastball that leaked up middle and he was able to take advantage of it.”
Bundy labored early, needing 29 pitches to get out of a scoreless first inning after issuing a pair of walks. He didn’t allow a run until the fourth, when Devers homered with two outs.
“Yeah, that first inning was tough,” Bundy said. “They were fouling off a lot of good pitches and they got my pitch count up there. So I was kind of battling to get that pitch count down the whole night. I was able to get through six and still gave them the chance to win.”
“There was a seven-, eight-inning outing there, but the next thing you know he’s thrown almost 30 pitches in the first inning,” Showalter said. “But he settled in there good. Dylan, it’s tough for me to fault much with him. I thought he had good stuff, threw it over in a tough venue and a really tough nigh to pitch condition-wise. It always amazes me that these guys are able to command the ball as well as they can when you’re playing in games like that.”
The Orioles failed to break through until the third against Red Sox right-hander Rick Porcello, who was coming off his worst two outings of the season, allowing five runs in back-to-back starts.
They loaded the bases against Porcello (6-1) with one out in the third, but scored just one run when Jonathan Schoop hit a sacrifice fly and Chris Davis struck out.
Davis struck out four times Saturday and has strikeouts in each of his last six plate appearances.
Trailing 4-1, designated hitter Pedro Álvarez pulled the Orioles within a run with a two-run homer in the sixth, hitting an opposite-field blast off the top of the high left-field wall and over for his eighth homer of the season. He trails only Manny Machado’s 14 for the team lead.
Red Sox pitchers ended the game by retiring 11 straight batters after Álvarez’s homer, with five by strikeout. The Boston bullpen didn’t allow a base runner in the final three innings — with Joe Kelly, Matt Barnes and Kimbrel tossing perfect innings in the seventh, eighth and ninth, respectively.
“Very good guys over there,” Sisco said. “[They] pound the zone with great stuff, but we just try to put together good at-bats. We had some good at-bats out there. We’ve just got to try to string some together.”
Hard-throwing rookie lefty reliever Tanner Scott entered the game in the seventh, but started his outing with costly back-to-back walks to the Nos. 8 and 9 hitters — Sandy León on five pitches and Jackie Bradley Jr. on four.
Scott retired Betts, but then allowed a two-run single to Benintendi that scored both runners and gave the Red Sox (31-15) a 6-3 lead.
“I thought Pete’s was a big one there,” Showalter said. “We had to stretch a lot of people yesterday. If we could have got a shutdown inning there ... Tanner just couldn’t find the plate.”