BOSTON — The Orioles came off their .500 July with four home games against the Toronto Blue Jays and kept the even-record ball going before a stretch of 13 straight games against opponents vying for playoff spots. The first dozen have not been kind.
A 4-0 loss to the Boston Red Sox on Saturday marked the Orioles’ 11th loss in their past 12 games, with 2013 first-round draft pick Hunter Harvey’s long-awaited major league debut coming in the form of a scoreless eighth inning.
But it was not enough for the Orioles (39-84) to avoid their sixth straight defeat, seventh shutout loss of 2019 and first since June 30.
Brock Holt and Rafael Devers homered for the Red Sox (66-59) to bring the Orioles within six of breaking the 2016 Cincinnati Reds’ major league record for most home runs allowed in a season. Former Orioles farmhand Eduardo Rodríguez held his old organization scoreless over 7 1/3 innings.
His opposing starter, Asher Wojciechowski, cruised through four scoreless, with Stevie Wilkerson’s leaping catch at the center-field wall ending the fourth inning. But Wojciechowski was unable to escape the fifth.
Holt homered on his first pitch of the frame to break the scoreless tie.
Jackie Bradley Jr. followed with a triple and subsequently scored on a Wojciechowski wild pitch. Two of the next three reached, prompting manager Brandon Hyde to end Wojciechowski’s night after 98 pitches in 4 1/3 innings.
Miguel Castro entered and got J.D. Martinez to ground into a double play to end the inning, then worked a scoreless sixth. Paul Fry pitched the seventh and allowed Devers’ two-run home run over the Green Monster.
The Orioles were unable to capitalize on having runners on second and third with one out in the top of the eighth. Then Harvey entered after being promoted Saturday following a minor league career littered with injuries. His first pitch was a 98 mph strike to Martinez before getting him to ground out on a 99 mph fastball. He walked Andrew Benintendi before striking out Christian Vázquez and Mitch Moreland to complete his scoreless debut.
“It’s crazy,” Harvey said. "Everybody is asking, ‘How did it feel?’ After I got the first pitch out of the way, it was so much easier to breathe. It was fun.”
In three starts against his old organization in 2019, Rodríguez, traded to Boston for Andrew Miller in 2014, has allowed three runs in 21 innings. His career 3.20 ERA against Baltimore is his second best among teams he has faced more than three times.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen the guy pitch bad in person," Hyde said.
The Orioles got a runner into scoring position against him only twice. In the fourth, Trey Mancini and Jonathan Villar walked, but Rodríguez got Pedro Severino to ground out to end the threat. Mancini then led off the sixth with a double for his eighth straight game at Fenway Park with an extra-base hit, already the club record and one off the major league record by a visiting player.
But Mancini was caught at third trying to advance on Anthony Santander’s grounder to shortstop, an out call a video review upheld.
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Hanser Alberto’s one-out single in the eighth ended Rodríguez’s outing. Mancini followed with an infield single to the left side, and both advanced on a wild pitch. But Matt Barnes struck out Santander and Renato Núñez to strand the runners in scoring position.