Red Sox close out opening series with 7-4 loss to Orioles

Weber falters early as Sox drop series to lowly O's

BOSTON, MA. – JULY 9: Alex Verdugo #99 of the Boston Red Sox reacts to Umpire Jason Varitek’s call as Christian Vazquez #7 catches during a scrimmage game at Summer Camp at Fenway Park on July 9, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Staff Photo By Matt Stone/ MediaNews Group/Boston Herald)

The Red Sox are in the process of turning a short season into a long one.

After opening the 60-game campaign with a blowout 13-2 victory, the Red Sox dropped two straight at home to the bottom-feeding Baltimore Orioles. The Red Sox closed out the series with a 7-2 loss on Sunday in the quiet solitude of Fenway Park.

The Orioles dropped 108 games last season.

Red Sox manager Ron Roenicke has to finalize the bottom of the starting rotation with the New York Mets in town Monday night for the first of two interleague games.

“It’s more important now than as if you had a ‘regular’ season,” said Roenicke. “Now after the first month you really can’t be down that much and hopefully, we’ll have a good series against the Mets and go on the road.”

First and foremost

For the second game in a row, the Red Sox starter gave up a crooked number in the bottom of the first against the Orioles. On Saturday, the Birds touched up Sox starter Martin Perez for three runs in the opening frame.

Sunday’s starter, Ryan Weber, did slightly better. With two outs, Jose Iglesias got to Weber with a single to right. Third baseman Rio Ruiz then got around on Weber’s first pitch and deposited it into the Red Sox bullpen to give Baltimore a 2-0 lead.

The Red Sox have a potent lineup, as they showed on opening night. But they can’t continue to get behind before their first at-bat.

“It is always hard and even though we love our offense and we are going to score runs, it’s still tough when you get down early,” said Roenicke,

Lacking quality

The second and third starters in the Red Sox rotation failed to register a quality start against a team that lost 108 games last year. Weber got in trouble again in the fourth, giving up three runs. The big blow was a 2-run shot into the Orioles bullpen by right fielder Anthony Santander. Weber went 3 2/3 innings and allowed six runs on six hits with three walks and zero strikeouts.

“I really didn’t execute many pitches that well other than some two-seams I ran in on some righties,” said Weber. “Falling behind and trying to be too fine and leaving balls over the plate is not a good recipe.”

Bullpen works

On a positive note, right-hander Colton Brewer was summoned from the bullpen to extinguish the fire in the fourth and set the Orioles down in order in the fifth. Roenicke followed with Marcus Walden and Matt Barnes and they held the Orioles scoreless over the next three innings. But right-hander Austin Brice failed to hold the line, giving up an RBI double in the ninth.

Backstop helps

Red Sox catcher Christian Vazquez made contributions on offense and defense in the game. Vazquez scored the Red Sox’ first run with a solo home run into the Green Monster seats in the bottom of the second. He also recorded the Orioles’ final out in the sixth when he gunned down speedy leadoff hitter Austin Hays trying to steal second base. Vazquez added a single in the ninth.

“I’m seeing the ball well and I think that is very important,” said Vazquez. “The pitcher makes a mistake, you have to take advantage of that and hung a change up and I hit it out.”

Trending right

Santander had a big day with the glove in right. Santander made a remarkable leaping grab that robbed shortstop Xander Bogaerts of a Pesky Pole home run in the fourth. He made a diving catch on a sinking line drive by designated hitter J.D. Martinez that would like have been an RBI double had it got through. Santander registered six putouts in cavernous Fenway right field, a remarkable number for the loneliest outpost on the diamond. Santander moved from right field to center in the bottom of the eighth.