It was another chance to win a series, and another opportunity lost as the Orioles' 6-4 defeat to the Boston Red Sox tonight featured the kind of play that has been mostly absent under the Buck Showalter regime.
There was first baseman Ty Wigginton's error that contributed to the five-run second inning by the Red Sox off Brad Bergesen. There was the infield's failure to turn a double play in the eighth on Mike Lowell's groundball, leading to an important Red Sox insurance run a half inning after the Orioles scored four times to get back in the game.
There were also the six walks and the one hit batter and rookie third baseman Josh Bell harmlessly yet embarrassingly forgetting how many outs there were in the third inning.
Pinch hitter Corey Patterson bunted them both up a base, but Papelbon fanned Cesar Izturis for the second out. He then got Bell to swing-and-miss at a 96 mph fastball to pick up his 35th save.
The loss dropped the Orioles (49-85) to 1-12, including 1-7 at home, in games that decide the winner of a three-game set. They also fell to 4-4-1 in nine series under Showalter, and 7-8 this season against Boston, which moved within 6 ÃÂÃ Â games of idle Tampa Bay
Trailing 5-0, the Orioles made a game of it by scoring four times in the sixth off Red Sox starter Daisuke Matsuzaka. The Red Sox right-hander didn't allow a hit until Nick Markakis' one-out double in the fourth inning. Markakis was stranded, as was Wieters following his one-out double in the fifth.
The sixth started with an infield single by Bell and then a double by Brian Roberts. Markakis drove in the Orioles' first run with a single to center.
Wigginton made it 5-2 with an RBI groundout. With two outs and two men on, Wieters just missed tying the game with a three-run homer. Instead, the ball hit about halfway up the left-field wall, and the catcher settled for a two-run double and a 5-4 Orioles' deficit.
That left Wieters 6-or-9 with five RBIs in his career off Matsuzaka, who was yanked from the game following the double. Scott Atchison came on and struck out Nolan Reimold to end the Orioles' threat. Atchison retired all six batters he faced, three of them on strikeouts.
Bergesen, who saw his three-game winning streak come to an end, went 3-0 with a 2.73 ERA in five August starts, but he struggled throughout his first September outing. Though just two of the five runs that he allowed were earned courtesy of the Wigginton error, he did surrender eight hits and five walks, and needed to throw 114 pitches to log 5 1/3 innings. Both the five walks and the 114 pitches were career highs.
Bergesen's first pitch of the second inning, a 92 miles an hour fastball, was slammed into the left-field seats by Adrian Beltre, setting the tone for a forgettable inning.
Bergesen walked the next batter, Jed Lowrie, and then Lowell singled. He should have gotten at least one out on Daniel Nava's grounder, but Wigginton booted it, allowing Boston's second run to score.
Bergesen retired J.D. Drew and Victor Martinez on back-to-back shallow pop-ups, and appeared to be in good position to limit the damage. However, David Ortiz lined an 0-2 pitch into left field, the two-run single giving the Red Sox a commanding 5-0 bulge.
To his credit, Bergesen didn't allow any runs more and actually got an out in the sixth inning despite the fact that the Red Sox had at least one baserunner on him in every inning but the fifth.
Bergesen retired Scutaro on a fielder's choice with two men on to the end of the third. He then got Lowrie to fly out to deep right field to strand two more in the fourth.
He was finally removed from the game following Drew's single with one out in the sixth. Rick VandenHurk came on and got Martinez to hit into an inning-ending double play.