Yesterday, the O's came back from nine runs down to beat the Red Sox; today, the Red Sox returned the favor to slip past the Orioles 6-5 and ruin another great outing by rookie starter Brad Bergesen.
Bergesen outpitched Josh Beckett by giving up one run in eight innings, striking out six, and walking none. Bergesen lowered his ERA to 3.53 in the process.
Unfortunately, Bergesen didn't return to the mound in the ninth inning, and the O's bullpen immediately ran into trouble. Jim Johnson relieved Bergesen, walked Dustin Pedroia, then gave up a two-run homer to Kevin Youkilis. With the score 5-3, Dave Trembley brought in George Sherrill to close the door on the Red Sox. Sherrill recorded consecutive strikeouts against Jason Bay and David Ortiz -- then things went horribly wrong. Jacoby Ellsbury singled and Jeff Bailey and Jason Varitek both walked to load the bases. Rocco Baldelli then singled up the middle to score two runs and tie the game.
Danys Baez relieved Sherrill and pitched well enough at first but then allowed a run in the 11th on a Julio Lugo single.
After Ty Wigginton's solo home run to lead off the bottom of the fourth, the Orioles didn't have a single batter reach base. So the bullpen blew the lead, but the offense certainly didn't help to widen the gap any more. So much for winning a series against Boston.
Still, even though the O's lost again, they battled Boston -- a vastly superior team -- to the end. Jon Lester threw a gem on Monday in a 4-0 Red Sox victory, but the Orioles mounted an enormous comeback last night and had Boston on the ropes again today. There are no moral victories, but no one can say the Orioles don't have any heart or aren't showing signs of improvement.