Heading into this game both Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles' aces Clay Buchholz and Chris Tillman were coming off very rough starts in which neither made it into the fourth inning. This game would be a completely different story though in which both starters would perform rather well and leave their team with a solid chance to win. This game came down to the bats and what they were able and not able to do throughout the entire nine inning battle.
Clay Buchholz had a different kind of day against the O's, he would go six innings only allowing two runs and striking out seven with just one walk. Thats a solid start right there that the Red Sox would be willing to get day in and day out from the righty, especially with the way their pitching rotation has performed over the past week. Surprisingly Clay gave up a total of 11 hits throughout his performance, usually meaning in most cases a pitcher got hit around pretty well. But it wasn't like those hits were doubles and shots off the Green Monster, ten of those hits were singles and he was able to work out of multiple jams thanks to strikeouts and strong defense behind him. Manny Machodo would knock in a run on a groundout after a Hanley Ramirez blunder in left and Caleb Joseph would do the same on a single into center during the fourth, the toughest inning by far for Clay on the day. It was obvious the "Ace" didn't have his best stuff, but he found a way to work around it and that it something he has always struggled to do throughout his career. A good sign for Boston that Buchholz was able to bounce back after all the criticism he faced for his last start in New York.
Chris Tillman was the difference for the O's in this game as he would step on the mound and make the Red Sox struggle like he has done so many times before. Chris would go five and a third giving up one run on an error off Pablo Sandoval's bat while striking out five and walking two. He would give up six hits during the afternoon, five of those belonging to David Ortiz and super utility man Brock Holt. The rest of the lineup during the game struggled to compete with the 27-year-old who just wore down hitters consistently, especially Dustin Pedroia who just looked uncomfortable at the plate against him.
With both starting pitchers out the game the Red Sox were trying to battle back as they trailed the Orioles 2-1 but they just couldn't get anything going. Brad Bach would come in for the O's after Tillman's five and a third keeping the Sox quiet until the end of the seventh while only allowing one hit. Darren O'Day would have a similar success getting through the eighth with a strikeout and just one walk.
The Red Sox bullpen looked strong as well as Alexi Ogando and Anthony Varvaro both came in pitching the seventh and eighth without allowing a hit. Ogando would continue to look good getting a strikeout, while Varvaro showed his versatility on the mound once again having no trouble getting the Sox to the ninth. So far this season Varvaro's stuff has shown the ability to dominate in both late inning and mop-up duties. Entering the ninth with the Red Sox only down a run it was essential they hold the Orioles scoreless in order to stay in the game, but Robbie Ross just didn't have it on this day. Chris Davis would end up taking the former Texas Ranger deep for a two run shot into the Green Monster making the game 4-1 for the O's. After the homerun though, Ross would buckle down and get Boston through the inning without needing the help of anyone else in the bullpen.
Orioles closer Zach Britton would come into the ninth and was dominant against a deflated Red Sox lineup. He would strikeout both Allen Craig and the scorching Xander Bogaerts with ease earning Baltimore's sixth win of the season. The win would leave the Orioles' in second still trailing the BoSox by a game in the still very young 2015 season.
After the game when reporters asked new Red Sox left fielder Hanley Ramirez about a ball that went off his glove in front of the Green Monster he wasn't too happy. He explained that the ball hit the wall first and that they should watch the replay before talking with him, but when looking back on the play it's obvious it hit his glove first. The transition has continued to be rough for Ramirez in left as he tries to learn the Monster on the fly this season after only playing third base and shortstop his first ten years in the big leagues.
The Red Sox and Orioles face off again today at 1:35 as Boston's Rick Porcello (3.86 ERA) goes up against Baltimore's Miguel Gonzalez (1.29 ERA) in a game that could leave the two teams tied for first place if the Orioles find a way to win again.