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At this point in this disastrous Red Sox season, disappointing losses like Tuesday night’s 7-1 beatdown to the Baltimore Orioles feel like they’re compounding together as a sense of numbness settles over Red Sox nation. Fans have become accustomed to games like on Tuesday, when the Sox offense went 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and Josh Beckett was tagged for six earned runs without getting out of the sixth inning.
One of the biggest reasons for the Orioles turnaround in 2012 has been the stability of their pitching, including Wei-Yin Chen, a pitcher from Taiwan the team signed in the offseason. Chen allowed nine hits and a walk to the Sox over six innings, but he worked out of trouble on numerous occasions to limit the damage to a single run.
In the third, Pedro Ciriaco doubled on a ball hit to left field with two outs, and Dustin Pedroia walked to provide Adrian Gonzalez with an opportunity to break a scoreless tie at the time. However he flew out to left, ending the threat.
After Baltimore grabbed their first run on a solo shot by Omar Quintanilla in the bottom half of the third, the Sox retied the game in the fourth. Carl Crawford smacked a base hit to center field, scoring Cody Ross who reached on a double.
Pedroia hit a two-out triple to right field in the fifth inning, but again Gonzalez failed to come through in the clutch to drive in a run. The big first baseman grounded out to second to strand yet another runner.
Baltimore used another solo shot in the bottom of the fifth to retake the lead, this time an opposite field home run to right field off the bat of Mark Reynolds.
Beckett had been solid until the Orioles erupted in the bottom of the sixth inning, putting the game out of reach. After consecutive RBI base hits knocked Beckett out of the game with Baltimore leading 4-1, Mark Melancon entered the game and allowed a three-run bomb to Reynolds on his first pitch thrown, allowing two more runs charged to Beckett to score.
Reynolds drove in four runs on the two long balls, giving the all-or-nothing slugger 11 on the season. Melancon did manage to record the next seven outs, striking out three batters before manager Bobby Valentine brought on Andrew Bailey, making his regular season debut with the team. The reliever recorded the last out for Sox pitching in the loss, striking out Reynolds after walking Chris Davis.
Boston falls to 57-60 in the defeat at the hands of Baltimore, a significant wild card contender ahead of them in the standings. Tomorrow night the teams square off again, with Aaron Cook searching for his fourth win of the year against former Sox minor leaguer Miguel Gonzalez.
Tags: Aaron Cook, Adrian Gonzalez, Andrew Bailey, Baltimore Orioles, Carl Crawford, Cody Ross, Danny Valencia, Dustin Pedroia, Josh Beckett, Mark Melancon, Mark Reynolds, Omar Quintanilla, pedro ciriaco, Wei-Yin Chen